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'I do,' then 'let's raise some money'

May 24, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

WILLIAMSPORT -Bill Blair and Anne Haas have never known anyone who was personally helped by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, but, as parents and grandparents, kids are very important to them.

So as the couple were planning their wedding, the second for both, they decided to extend their wedding reception into a fundraising dance for the children's hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

A wedding reception lasts just hours, but the impact from the fundraiser will last much longer, says Haas, 48, of Williamsport. That kind of impact will multiply the couple's joy, she says.

The couple already had the Williamsport American Legion booked for their wedding day, so, rather than send their guests home at 8 on a Saturday night, they will take a short break after the wedding reception and restart the party with the dance.

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The DJ service for their reception, Lost in the Fifties from Falling Waters, W.Va., is donating its extra time for the fundraiser, to be held at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 6. Tickets for the dance cost $10.

With the 200 tickets they are hoping to sell and the raffle and gaming opportunities at the dance, the benefit could raise as much as $4,000, Haas says. The hope is the money will affect multiple families.

St. Jude is a Memphis, Tenn.-based pediatric cancer research center. Families do not pay for treatment that is not covered by insurance, according to www.stjude.org. No child is denied treatment due to the family's inability to pay.

"We wanted to impact young kids," Haas says.

And they wanted the money to reach at least one child, rather than pay for an organization's administrative costs, she says.

According to the children's hospital, 84 cents of every dollar received goes to support research and treatment.

"We'd much prefer to give out financially than take in," she says.

Several of their wedding guests are bringing donations for St. Jude in lieu of traditional wedding gifts, Haas says.

Both the wedding reception and fundraising dance to follow are a casual affair - jeans are allowed, Haas says.

However, the couple will be decked out for their vows.

Blair, 55, who owns the Downsville General Store, will wear a tux. Haas, a veterinary assistant at Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic, will wear a traditional wedding dress, complete with veil, lace, beading and a big train. Haas' mother, who died last November, picked out the dress.

"It was one of the things that she really wanted to do," Haas says.

If you go ...

WHAT: Fundraising dance for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

WHEN: 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday, June 6

WHERE: Williamsport American Legion, off South Conococheague Street in Williamsport

COST: $10 per person. Register in advance or buy tickets at the door if they are still available.

MORE: Tickets are available at the Downsville General Store, 8638 Downsville Pike; the Williamsport American Legion; from Anne Haas at Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic, 17747 Virginia Ave.; and Special Moments Florist & Gifts at 9413 Williamsport Pike in Falling Waters, W.Va.

Refreshments and a cash bar. Must be 18 or older.

For more information, call 301-223-6401.

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