A Relay For Life team's annual Spring Fling fundraiser in Marion County, Missouri, is always a popular community event, but this year was special. This was the year the 18-year-old Flower Children team hit the $1 million fundraising mark, generating a lot of local media coverage.
There to express the American Cancer Society's appreciation was Mike Neal, senior executive vice president, Field Operations, along with several staff members from the North Region.
Mike spoke briefly prior to the live auction, and he introduced Rhonda Dodd, who inspired the audience by talking about her fight against cancer and her experience as a guest at our Hope Lodge facility in St. Louis.
This year's team Spring Fling fundraiser in Palmyra, MO, a town of 3,600 people, raised a record $81,000, and put The Flower Children over the $1 million mark, as they had hoped it would. Students with a computer and spreadsheet were tracking dollars raised that evening, and when the fundraising hit the $1 million mark, proceedings stopped briefly for a celebration with confetti and balloons.
About 400 Marion County residents attended the April 21 event, paying $25 per ticket. The night's activities included dinner, raffles, and silent and live auctions, as well as a chance for those in attendance to "Bet on a Cure" and have some "Vegas Style" fun.
Items ranged from great tickets to sporting events such as NASCAR, Chiefs, Cardinals, Royals, and MU Tigers to certificates for hotel packages and Branson shows. Auction items also included household necessities, gift certificates for meals and services, auto care products, as well as, furniture and hand-crafted items and unique, one of a kind wood-working creations.
A special item this year was a beautiful handcrafted cedar table with benches and chairs donated by Dr. Bill and Sharon Wommack in honor of Troy Disselhorst. A group of family and friends who have been supporting Troy in his fight against cancer surprised him by purchasing the table for $9,800 in his honor, and then donating it back to the auction, where it raised an additional $4,000. The top bidder gave the set to Troy and his wife, Emily, who were in attendance.
A unique feature at this year's Spring Fling was the chance to win a .53 carat diamond pendant valued at $2,750. Individuals could purchase a raffle cup filled with a drink donated by El Nopal Mexican Restaurant. The winner donated the necklace back and it was auctioned again, raising additional money.“We say all the time that volunteers are the heart of what we do – and the accomplishments of this one team in a town so small are proof that our success centers around having the right advocates in place. It is incredible to see what an inspired group of people can really accomplish," said April Dzubic, executive director, Missouri Area.
The Flower Children were recognized as the top fundraising team in Missouri and #39 in the nation in 2017.
All attendees were invited to attend the 22nd annual Relay For Life of Marion County event from 4 p.m. until midnight on June 1 at Flower City Park in Palmyra.
TOP PHOTO: From left, Mike Neal, senior executive VP, Field Operations; Kathryn McDaniel, senior community development manager; D’Arcy Crane, senior manager, Community Development; April Dzubic, executive director, Missouri Area; Dana Blasé, Health Systems manager, hospitals. Kathryn is the staff partner.