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Cancer auction slated

April 20, 1999

Cancer AuctionBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Those who attend Saturday's American Cancer Society auction can bid on hundreds of items ranging from the usual dinners for two or free night's lodging to a week's worth of elk hunting in Wyoming's Grand Teton Mountains.

The auction starts at 6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Waynesboro Eagles Club at 22 E. Main St. A silent auction begins at 4 p.m.

Last year the auction raised more than $65,000, including $20,000 in cash donations, said Denise Beck, who has chaired the event for the last nine years.

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Beck, who survived two bouts with cancer and who has lost family members to the disease, puts in hundreds of hours coordinating the auction every year.

Each year starting in February, a solicitation committee of about 80 volunteers combs the county for donations of new or antique items, crafts or services and cash from businesses and individuals.

The auction has been held since 1981. Before that, volunteers went door-to-door seeking donations, but the effort only netted about $1,000, Beck said. The first auction brought in $6,000 and the amount has gone up every year since.

Most of what the solicitors collect ends up in Beck's living room. "The entire room disappears. All she has are paths and walkways," said Jill Kessler, who handles publicity for the auction.

Area auctioneers volunteering their time Saturday will include Bob Benchoff, Lynn Dietrich, Matthew Hurley, Raymond Rowland, Eddie Stull and Jeffrey Weicht.

Waynesboro Area Senior High School baseball team members will haul the items up the four flight of stairs to the auction site, Beck said. "There's no elevator at the Eagles Club, but that's the only room big enough to hold 450 people," she said.

A major item on the block, besides the seven-day guided elk hunt in Wyoming, is a 40-plus-year-old Coca Cola cooler being donated by the Rouzerville Ruritan Club. Ruritan board member Pam Stockslager said the cooler was bought used by the club more than 35 years ago.

One of Beck's favorites is a hand-painted reproduction of a character cell from the 1941 Walt Disney movie "Dumbo." One of 500, the framed cartoon retails for $1,850 and was donated by the Disney company, Beck said.

The junior solicitors committee, made up of kids 6-16, wrote letters to entertainment and sports celebrities seeking cash donations, autographs and photos for the auction, Beck said. "That's how we got the Disney print," she said. "Last year we got a check for $3,000 from Jerry Seinfeld."

In other celebrity offerings, bidders can vie for tickets to the taping of the Conan O'Brien Show in New York City.

Four members of the auction committee, including Beck and Kessler, recently visited New York and while there stopped in to meet Barbara Walters. They had their picture taken with the television newswoman. She gave them an autographed mug for the auction.

"The photo is hanging in the Parlor House Restaurant," Beck said.

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