Toast to a Cure raises glasses, funds

The annual American Cancer Society event Saturday drew about 150 people to an evening of wine, dining and an auction.

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WALLA WALLA -- The American Cancer Society held their eighth annual Toast to a Cure on Saturday, this year to raise funds for what could one day be resource center where the money would be distributed back to patients.

"I remember sitting through chemotherapy treatments with my father and visiting with other patients and I came to find out that many programs are not currently available because we do not have a resource center," Event Chair Lisa Schmidt wrote, explaining to supporter what the money would be used for that was raised from this year's event.

Last year the event raised $36,000, which was used to help six local children with cancer attend special camps, along with a family member or friend, said event committee volunteer Brenda Criss.

By Saturday evening, a half-hour after opening, 145 tickets had been sold, with only five left to hit the goal of 150. At a cost of $65 per ticket for the Western-themed wine, dine and auction event, Criss noted that the entry fee only accounts for a minority of the funds raise. The majority will come from the various auctions and games people participate in through the night.

"They (participants) know it's a fundraiser. So people are pretty generous, which we are really grateful for. 'Cause it wouldn't happen if people weren't generous," she added.

The American Cancer Society is now looking for a location to establish a volunteer resource center in a Walla Walla hospital, Community Relationship Manager Wendee Bodnar said.

"With a volunteer run resource center in a hospital, the volunteers would talk to the patients and just see what their needs are," Bodnar added.

To learn more about this and other local American Cancer Society programs, call the Kennewick chapter at (509) 783-1574.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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