Childhood cancer is a somber topic, but the mood at the luncheon fundraiser to benefit the American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest was anything but somber. As you entered the Lincoln Center on a Tuesday at noon, you were stuck by the celebratory feeling of the group gathering to raise funds to ease the worries of families facing tragedy.
It was a group of old and new friends joining forces to help ease the burdens that families battling cancer face. ACCOIN, as it’s known to its supporters, is a nonprofit that swoops in as families are getting the news that a child has cancer. They are there with emotional as well as practical help. When parents of children fighting cancer need to talk to someone that understands what they are going through, ACCOIN is there. When those same parents need groceries or help paying the electric bill, ACCOIN is there. When they are living in the hospital, because that is where their children are living, ACCOIN is there. They support families in their darkest times.
But on this sunny Tuesday, the mood is anything but dark. There are children, happy to be reunited with friends, dashing all around the room. Parents, grandparents, friends hugging their hellos to one another. One table of ladies are breast cancer survivors and they get together to celebrate and peruse the silent auction at this event each year.
The silent auction was one long table packed with treasure after treasure. Stunning watercolor artwork was on display and went to the highest bidder. Baskets full of lotions to pamper yourself with and coolers packed with the latest WSU gear waited to be bid up by the guests. And indeed, guests were bidding right up until the auction ended.
During the luncheon, guests were treated to the charming Robyn Nance, Mistress of Ceremony, as she danced with children that were thrilled to be on stage. Sarah Jane Brown, Executive Director of ACCOIN then told us a little bit about her background with the organization. Today she is the director of the nonprofit, but she started as a recipient many years ago. In fact, many of the staff started as clients of the group. When Rebecca Erdahl took the stage and gave a moving account of how ACCOIN was there throughout her daughter’s sickness, there was not a dry eye in the room.
This luncheon is called “Hope is Golden” and the overwhelming feeling of the room was most definitely one of hope and joy. It was a very special way to spend a sunny autumn afternoon.