Cancer auction proceeds make a difference

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Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley Patient Care Coordinator Shannon Spiker-Torres, a 5-year breast cancer survivor, is shown in the organization’s wig boutique. PROVIDED PHOTO

When you bid on items at this year’s Waynesboro Area Cancer Auction, know that your donation is making a difference in people’s lives.

Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley and Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Children’s Hospital are two of the organizations that benefit from proceeds of the annual auction. The 41st event will be held Saturday, April 15, in Green Grove Gardens, 1032 Buchanan Trail East, Greencastle. Doors open at 3 p.m. The silent auction starts at 4 p.m. and oral bidding begins at 5:30 p.m.

Since 1982, the auction has raised over $2.5 million to help patients navigate through services for them and their families during treatment.

All auction items are donated, the auctioneers donate their time and a host of volunteers donate their time to solicit, organize and work the night of the event.  A catalog of all the items is available weeks before the auction at local businesses and on the auction’s Facebook page.

The silent auction tables feature several hundred items, including many that are hand-crafted, to bid on.

Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley

“It was such a blessing,” according to Stacy Horst, executive director of Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley, which received a total of $50,000 from the proceeds of the 2022 event for its support of local cancer patients. This year’s auction will be held April 15 in Green Grove Gardens, 1032 Buchanan Trail East, Greencastle. Doors open at 3 p.m. The silent auction starts at 4 p.m. and oral bidding begins at 5:30 p.m.

“The number of individuals coming through our program has increased significantly,” added Horst, due in part to patients missing screenings during the pandemic and the closing of the wig boutique at John R. Marsh Cancer Center in Hagerstown.

“The funds really helped us refill our wig boutique,” she added, and the money was used for BCA-CV’s other programs, such as providing patients with gift cards for gas and groceries. “We also have a special needs program, based on financial need, and we help patients with utility and mortgage payments, etc. It helps take the burden off, so they can focus on getting well.”

Horst believes the donation to BCA-CV was a direct answer to prayer. For various reasons, she had to postpone her annual summer visit to the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina, for a personal spiritual retreat. “On our last night there, we hiked to the chapel, went to the prayer room, and shared what was on our heart. I was praying … we were seeing so much need (at BCA-CV) and had not planned for the uptick in patients. That was a Wednesday night.”

On Monday morning, Horst was given a list of all the people who called while she was away, including the cancer auction representatives with news of the donation. “The timing of that … I knew that was the Lord,” she noted. “We are so grateful.”

Services provided by BCA-CV include free mammograms for men and women who have little or no insurance and cannot afford to be screened, as well as many free programs to local breast cancer patients and their families to aid in supporting them through their entire breast cancer journey. BCA-CV’s full-service wig boutique is open to all cancer patients (not just breast) at no charge.

The program for children of breast cancer patients includes a kid’s care package with items like a stuffed animal, coloring sheets, and a book about their parents’ diagnosis. 

Monthly group support features sessions that allow patients and their families to share stories, concerns and questions.

Four Diamonds

Four Diamonds, founded in 1972 with the goal of supporting children and their families in the fight against childhood cancer, was the recipient of a total of $20,000 from auction proceeds in 2021 and 2022. The program has helped more than 4,800 childhood cancer patients and their families over the past 50 years.

“Four Diamonds funds expert medical care and offers financial support to kids fighting cancer right now, and the research we fund is what will help more kids survive in the future – and hopefully one day leads to a cure,” offered Kelly Walker, communications director. Hannah Woodward, associate director of community fundraising, urged donors to see the direct impact of their gift by visiting the website “to meet our inspiring Four Diamonds families.”

Their three pillars of funding are superior care, comprehensive support, and innovative research.

We ensure that every Four Diamonds child receives the highest quality of life-saving childhood cancer care at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital without ever seeing a bill for that care,” Walker noted.

Four Diamonds children and their families are wrapped in comprehensive services that include providing access to specialists proven to enhance positive treatment outcomes, combined with support services to meet their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. “We have a team of more than 30 health care professionals such as Child Life specialists, musical therapists and child psychologists, just to name a few,” added Walker.

Four Diamonds is committed to ensuring grants are made to a variety of innovative research projects that are searching for deeper understanding of why and how childhood cancer happens and new ways it can be treated. Funds are also invested in endowments. The interest earned on those endowments creates a secondary, permanent funding stream for our ongoing research efforts in pursuit of a cure for all childhood cancers.

THON is Penn State University’s student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. The year-long efforts culminate in a 46-hour dance marathon to benefit Four Diamonds. THON raised more than $15 million in 2023 and over $219 million since it first partnered with Four Diamonds at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital in 1977.

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