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Cancer Society branch brunch raises more than $25,000

November 12, 2003|by Alicia Notarianni

alician@herald-mail.com

"Grand" truly describes the proportions of the 15th annual Grand Sunday Brunch held Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. The Grand Ballroom bustled with live music, balloon sculptures, face painting, magicians, a silent auction and raffle ticket sales. Guests enjoyed an extensive buffet bursting with appealing cuisine. Local television weatherman and radio show host Lou Scally was on hand as master of ceremonies.

Diane Pullen, 41, said her co-chair of the event, Jim Shifler, conceived of the distinguished event 15 years ago to raise money for the Washington County American Cancer Society.

Shifler recalled, "A board member, Phil Crabtree, tried to recruit me. I told him, 'Wait 'til I retire.' As soon as I retired, he was on my doorstep. They wanted ways to raise money."

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Shifler found one.

"My wife and I would go out for lunch and see so many people we knew. I figured it would be a good way to get out and see people," he said.

That first year, around 300 people attended for $15 per ticket. Proceeds were about $5,000.

This year, approximately 750 people paid $26, and proceeds were estimated to exceed $25,000, according to Shifler. "We try to up the ante each year," Shifler said. "We have $1,600 from sponsor ads alone and at least another $1,500 in memorials."

The society gave special honors to Robert Green, 59, of Clear Spring. Green, an instrumental music instructor at Springfield Middle School, has been married to Judy Green for 38 years. They have three grown daughters, Michelle, Tonya and Nicole, and six grandchildren. Robert Green's parents, Harold Green, 91, and Julia Green, 90, are both cancer survivors.

Ronald Green is the band leader of a group called Easy Listenin', which has performed at the Grand Sunday Brunch for last 10 years.

In 2000, Green was diagnosed with colon cancer and encountered numerous complications. He has undergone several surgeries at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and is receiving chemotherapy treatment. With the exception of a stomach ulcer resulting from treatments, Green said he is doing well.

"I've got my mind made up," he said. "I'm positive. I'm gonna do it."

In response to the honors, Green said, "I was quite surprised. We've been doing this for 10 years. Today didn't seem any different."

Pullen says the event is attended by a cross section of the community, including families of cancer survivors and victims, people from the community at large, and corporate sponsors of the event. This year's gold sponsor was South Pointe-Paul Crampton Contractors Inc.

"There are families here who have been coming for years. We have generations of people who came as kids and are now coming with their children," said Pullen.

Cindi Hawfield, 41, said she and her husband, Robert Hawfield, 46, have had family members affected by cancer.

"We've been here the last five or six years," she said. "We like to support the American Cancer Society." Along with them were their children, Catherine, 5, and Will, 3, and Cindi's mother, Mary Ellen Burdette, 67, of Boonsboro.

Stuart Souders, 43, of Hagers-town, who attended the event with family members, said this is his second year of participation.

"My parents were victims of cancer," he said. "They passed away from complications of cancer. This is a good cause."

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