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Waynesboro Area Gala Cancer Auction raises money to fight disease

April 30, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Bidders at Saturday's 30th annual Waynesboro Area Gala Cancer Auction at the Eagles Club prepare to bid on a 6-foot fiberglass ladder, which was the first item on the block.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Quilts, box seats for Baltimore Orioles games and trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., were just some of the hundreds of donated items up for grabs Saturday night at the Waynesboro Area Gala Cancer Auction.

The event, now in its 30th year, has raised more than $1.8 million in the past three decades.

Jill Kessler, Steering Committee chairwoman, said proceeds from the event benefit the Franklin County chapter of the American Cancer Society.

"If you haven't been affected by cancer, this might be the year that either you, a friend or a relative might have cancer," Kessler said. "It just becomes more personal for people."

All of the food and the items for the silent and oral auction were donated.

Kessler said the event raised about $66,000 last year.

"It's just a staple now for Waynesboro. It's always the last Saturday in April. Everybody just comes out and supports us," she said.

This year, the Eagles Club east of Center Square in Waynesboro was packed with hundreds of people eager to place their bids on a variety of items ranging from the ordinary, like a 6-foot fiberglass ladder, to the truly unique, like a jailhouse tour including lunch for 10 people.

Waynesboro resident Bob Reed is a regular attendee of the auction. He's been coming for 30 years.

"I even helped when it first started," Reed said as he scanned the silent auction table before the oral auction began.

A pizza-baking stone caught his eye, and he listed his bid on the sheet of paper along with the other bidders.

"There are a lot of different donated items here, and this is just a good cause," Reed said. "It's raised a lot of money over the past 30 years."

For emcee Garnet Stevens, the event took on a very personal significance. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in December.

"It affects everyone in the community in some way whether they're dealing with the disease as a patient or as a loved one," Stevens said. "It takes a community, and this community has stepped up for 30 years."

Stevens, 40, has already undergone six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments and said he's optimistic.

"I don't like that I have cancer, but I have a choice of how I deal with it," Stevens said.

Denise Beck of Waynesboro and her husband, Mike, were in charge of the auction donations.

Beck, 47, is a three-time cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with nose and throat cancer when she was 16, collarbone cancer at 28 and nose and throat cancer again three years ago.

"It's important that people come out so that we can find a cure," Beck said.

Cancer survivor Carol Zody of Zullinger, Pa., comes to the auction every year. But this year, her friend and neighbor, Lori Morrow, accompanied her.

"I came to support my friend and everybody else. They need to find a cure," Morrow said. "There are too many people that this has affected."

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