Ice-cream fundraiser to help owner of The Auto Man

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An ice cream fundraiser at Baskin Robbins this week will help offset medical costs for a Walla Walla mechanic known as The Auto Man.

From 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 10 percent of proceeds from ice cream sales at the Baskin Robbins at 2003 Isaacs Ave. will pay for medical care for Jim Andrews, owner of "The Auto Man" repair shop.

Andrews was diagnosed last May with multiple myeloma, a cancer that takes root with one abnormal plasma cell in the bone marrow and eventually spreads from bone to bone as the cell multiplies.

His next step: stem-cell therapy at the University of Washington in Seattle. According to a description on a blog site created for those following Andrews' journey, the therapy, expected to begin this month, will take place over several months.

Though insurance will cover much of the treatment, Andrews and his family face their own medical debts, as well as the expense of outpatient housing, meals and more while he isn't working.

Many in the community may recognize him from his repair business at 1721 Isaacs Ave. Those interested in donating to his medical fund or following his treatment can keep up at: http://www.supportjim.blogspot.com/.

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The Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce is calling on volunteers for the 37th annual Balloon Stampede.

Anyone interested in volunteering is invited to a 5:15 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Chamber office, 29 E. Sumach St.

The Chamber organizes the annual hot air balloon festival, which is staffed by volunteers serving in every role at every event from Nite Glow to the morning launches. This year's Stampede has been dubbed "Good Morning Walla Walla."

Those who'd like to help but can't attend every meeting should not be dissuaded. Staff will work around volunteers' schedules as much as possible. Meetings typically run one hour. Those interested in getting involved should call 525-0850.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

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