Eagles Club volunteers donate $11K to cancer research

Published 7:52 am Friday, December 17, 2010

It’s been seven years since volunteers with the Eagles Club of Austin put on their first cancer auction. For each of those seven years, Sandy Nelson volunteered to collect donations from the community. This year she was put in charge of organizing the benefit, which earned a record $11,168 on Dec. 4.

“People are very generous,” Nelson said. “People are so nice that donated.”

There’s no easy explanation for why the Eagles Club earned so much this year. Nelson and several volunteers reached more businesses and organizations than in previous years, which could have helped with their success. Almost every restaurant in Austin donated gift cards to be auctioned off as well, Nelson said.

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Students at Woodson Kindergarten Center and Neveln Elementary School drew pictures, which earned $104 at the auction.

Odd, wonky and novel items were up for auction, as well. A payphone from the old location of B & J’s Bar and Grill went on sale, as did 20 loaves of banana bread and wine.

“I was totally amazed, with the economy the way it is, how many people donated this year,” Nelson said.

A pair of red long john underwear went on sale for the seventh time. The long johns, which belonged to Sandy’s husband John, are sold every year and given back before the next auction takes place with the signature and date of everyone who’s bought them. John, who had bladder, liver, intestinal and finally pancreatic cancer for 14 years, put them up during the first auction.

He passed away a year and a half ago. The long johns earned $175 dollars this year, down from the $200 to $300 it’s earned in previous years, according to Sandy.

The money earned from the cancer auction will go towards the annual Fifth District Cancer Auction in Rochester this January. Sandy and other volunteers will be busy helping Lyle’s cancer auction take place on Jan. 14 and 15 at the American Legion in Lyle. Once the Fifth District Cancer Auction is completed, the money will go to the Hormel Institute and Mayo Clinic for cancer research.

“It’s a pretty important thing in our lives that you try to find a cure for it, and help other people,” Sandy said.

Sandy has big plans for next year’s cancer auction. She hopes to get a darts and pool tournament up and running, as well as continue a chili cook-off the Eagles Club did in November.

“We want bigger and better,” Sandy said. “We’re going to do some extra things.”