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Annual Gala Auction set to raise money for Cancer Society

April 16, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, PA. - In 1981, the first Waynesboro auction to benefit the American Cancer Society raised $8,000.

Last year, the event, called the Annual Gala Auction, netted $62,000, said Jill Kessler, auction general chairman for the last two years.

The volunteers who run the auction no longer set a goal, Kessler said.

"Whatever it brings in is fine," she said.

The auction will be held April 24 at the Waynesboro Eagles Club at 22 E. Main St. at 4 p.m., with the silent auction followed at 5:30 by the oral auction.

Volunteer auctioneers include Bob Benchoff, Gene Hurley, Matt Hurley, Kevin Martin and Raymond Rowland.

A popular feature, the junior committee, returns this year. Committee members, ages 8-18, write to celebrities in the worlds of sports, music and entertainment to ask for mementos that can be sold at the auction.

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This year, the youngsters have acquired signed photographs of golfer Tiger Woods, singer Jessica Simpson and the band No Doubt, and a poster signed by members of the Duke University basketball team, among other items, Kessler said.

About 500 items will be sold off the silent auction table and another 120 during the oral auction, she said.

The usual lots include weekend getaways, dinners, antiques, paintings and furnishings.

There also are some unusual items that come on the block. One year, a pheasant hunt sold for $1,300 and a dinner for eight was bid out at $1,500.

This year, a weekend at the Harbourtown Golf Resort in St. Michaels and weekends at Bethany Beach, Myrtle Beach and Ocean City are among trips being offered. The Furniture Market in Waynesboro donated five gift certificates totaling $1,300, Kessler said.

Items too big to get into the Eagles Club, including two dumper trailers and a picnic table, will be placed in the center square for public viewing before the auction.

Many of the volunteers who serve on the various committees have had cancer touch their lives, Kessler said. Kessler's son, Alec, 13, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was in kindergarten.

"He's been in remission for seven years," Kessler said.

Constance Woodruff, a cancer control specialist for the American Cancer Society's chapters in Franklin, Fulton and Adams counties, said about 26 cents of every dollar collected in Franklin County goes to cancer research.

"There's about $25 million in cancer research going on in Pennsylvania right now," Woodruff said.

This year, 72,590 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the state, she said.

The rest of the money collected in the auction, along with what is taken in by other county fund-raisers such as the Relay for Life held every May in Greencastle, Pa., stays in the county to support local programs such as education, assistance with medications, transportation to treatments, cosmetic accessories and other projects.

Woodruff said the relay in Greencastle usually brings in about $100,000 and is the chapter's largest fund-raiser. Similar events in Chambersburg, Pa., and Shippensburg, Pa., net about $40,000 and $60,000, respectively, she said.

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