Cancer auction raises $186K

Co-chairman Russ Slowinski carries a weed wacker through the crowd to elicit bids during the Lyle Area Cancer Auction Friday night. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Co-chairman Russ Slowinski carries a weed wacker through the crowd to elicit bids during the Lyle Area Cancer Auction Friday night. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Event nearing the $2M mark

Larry Ricke saw two couples looking a bit lost in the Lyle American Legion during the Lyle Area Cancer Auction Saturday. When the auction’s co-chairman led them to the auction to get bidding numbers, one of the women said something that gave him chills: She said it was on her bucket list to go to the auction.

“I just about fell over,” Ricke said.

The 35th Lyle Area Cancer Auction raised $186,500 this weekend, down a bit from $200,000 last year, but auction organizers were thrilled with the total.

“It exceeded any of my expectations by far,” co-chair Teresa Slowinski said.

While Ricke thanked the many dedicated volunteers for their hard work, he was also happy to see many newcomers bidding at the auction.

“We’ve seen a lot of new faces; that was awesome,” Ricke said.

Auction leaders will almost certainly reach a milestone by crossing the $2 million mark next year. Including this year’s total, the auction has raised more than $1.9 million in 35 years.

Along with fulfilling an item on a woman’s bucket list, Ricke and Slowinski said there were many touching moments over the weekend. This year, many survivors talked about their experiences battling cancer.

“To me, that goes back to the heart of what we’re doing,” Slowinski said.

A Lyle Area Cancer quilt sold for more than $2,000, a pie sold for more than $1,000 and a local garbage company announced a deal to pay for a cancer survivor’s garbage service for the rest of her life, according to Ricke. Another woman bought a wooden eagle made by her father, Chuck Berg, to give to her son, who’s serving in the military, in honor of her husband, a veteran who passed away from cancer last year.

“That was very touching,” Ricke said.ah.01.20.a

For Slowinski, a touching moment was when a couple purchased a pedal tractor restored and donated by her father-in-law for $650. The item was donated in honor of her mother-in-law, who was diagnosed with cancer in November.

“That was emotional for me,” Slowinski said.

For the first time, the auction accepted credit and debit cards. The service was a hit, and Slowinski expects to start accepting credit and debit cards at other LAC events throughout the year.

“It went over very well, well enough that we will be having it in the future,” Slowinski said.

Slowinski said reaching the $2 million mark will be a neat step for auction leaders and for the Lyle community. She described the auction as an event that brings people together for a common purpose: Finding a cure for cancer.

“It’s affecting people we love, and it’s amazing what people can do for their loved ones,” Slowinski said.

Al Smith points out a bid during the auction Friday night.

Al Smith points out a bid during the auction Friday night.

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