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Annual Gala Cancer Auction raises money for research

April 24, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER
  • Terry Eigenbrode, left, and Ray Bonebrake display a Lone Star wall-hanging quilt by Margaret Lutzke on Saturday night at the 29th annual Gala Cancer Auction in Waynesboro, Pa. The auction is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Photo by Kate S. Alexander,

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Going once, going twice, gone.

Everyone touched by cancer wants to see the disease gone, said Kellie Reiber of Waynesboro.

It also was the phrase used by auctioneers Saturday night in Waynesboro to sell nearly 1,000 items to benefit the American Cancer Society.

For 29 years, the Gala Cancer Auction has been held to raise money for local cancer research, event chairwoman Jill Kessler said.

People packed into the ballroom of the Eagles Club on Main Street to bid on items, some coming as early as 3 p.m. and saying until well past dark.

"This is going so well," Kessler said. "I think it is great."

No fundraising goal was set this year, she said, as the committee decided that whatever was raised was enough.

Past auctions have raked in close to $60,000 with donations continuing to trickle in after the last item is sold, Kessler said.

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Facilitated by the Matthew S. Hurley Auction Co., 115 items were sold by a team of local auctioneers.

Another 600 items were sold by silent auction along with hundreds of gift certificates.

The community response to the auction continues to overwhelm organizers, Kessler said.

For those battling cancer, watching close to 500 people open their wallets in hope of a cure is more than overwhelming, it is moving, Reiber said.

"It really chokes me up," she said. "It makes me realize you are never alone in this."

Diagnosed in 2009 with oral cancer, Reiber has fought a short, but difficult, battle with the disease.

Now that Reiber's cancer is in remission, her view of the auction has been cast in a much different light, she said.

"I had come to the auction in the past," she said. "Now, I will come every year and definitely volunteer with the American Cancer Society."

Finding a seat was difficult Saturday night, but with food and beverages for sale and the Waynesboro Area Senior High School class of 2012 selling snacks, there were plenty of people willing to accept standing room only.

Kessler said the auction likely would continue past 11 p.m.

As usual, many items up for sale were one of a kind or highly desired.

On the list this year were quilts handmade by students at Hooverville and Summitview elementary schools, autographed Duke University basketball memorabilia from their 2009-10 championship season, three nights in a 100-year-old cabin near Lancaster, Pa., and tickets to see Penn State play football in Happy Valley, Kessler said.

After 29 years, the auction is a well-oiled machine and not much has changed, Kessler said.

However, starting next year, she said the event will be known as the Waynesboro Area Gala Cancer Auction.

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