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Cancer research auction aims for a million

March 13, 2001

Cancer research auction aims for a million



Editor's note: This is the third in a weeklong series of stories profiling women who are making a contribution in the Tri-State area.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Denis BeckDenise Beck has a specific goal.

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She hopes to sell $62,000 worth of merchandise at the upcoming cancer fund-raising auction in Waynesboro. That's the amount she needs to bring the total proceeds from all Gala Auctions held since the first one in 1981 to $1 million.

The theme this year is "Who's Making a Million?"

Last year the auction cleared $68,000.

In 1980, some local volunteers, including Beck, tried to raise money for cancer research by going door-to-door. They raised $1,500.

"We needed a better way," Beck said.

The auction was organized the next year.

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"We figured we'd raise $3,000. Instead we raised $8,000," she said.

Beck, 37, has chaired the auction since 1987, the year it took in $37,000.

Today, Beck and more than 130 volunteers beat the bushes rounding up hundreds of items for the annual sale. Included are more than 500 items to be sold at the silent auction, which runs simultaneously with the items being sold on the block by volunteer auctioneers.

Auction lots range from family trips to restaurant dinners to antiques, paintings and furnishings and to obscure items such as a pheasant hunt that sold for $1,300 last year and a dinner for eight that went for $1,500.

One year, Dean Hebb, a local auto dealership, offered a new car for the auction.

This year a local dentist and his wife will provide a weekend of free baby-sitting.

The auction will be held April 28 beginning at 4 p.m. at the downtown Waynesboro Eagles Club.

Beck said she devotes weeks of heavy activity to coordinating the event because she knows the effects of the dreaded disease.

The mother of three children, 15, 13 and 9, Beck said she works on the auction to raise money to find better treatment for cancer.

When Beck was 16, she was diagnosed with cancer of the nose and throat. In 1992 she survived a bout with bone cancer.

"I do this so, hopefully, no one will have to go through what I went through," she said.

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