Cancer main topic at NBNK Rotary

Staff Writer

“Together we will win.” That is the motto for this years Tailgate for Cancer event, Auglaize County’s biggest cancer awareness and fundraising event.
The fundraiser, scheduled for Oct. 13, has big hopes for their 10th-year, and with even bigger prizes to give away. This year, committee members hope to reach their $1 millionth raised for cancer research.
To help reach that goal, the members are selling tickets to raffle off one of their largest prizes yet: a scarlet red 2018 Avalon GS Series Tritoon with a 150 horse powered motor, retailed at $70,000.
Tailgate for Cancer was started by a group of St. Marians who bought ticket for the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer — started by a native of St. Marys, Lisa Cisco — and saw what an impact that event had.
“Last year on the cruise, for a weekend, over $3 million dollars was raised for cancer research for The James,” said Tailgate for Cancer President Traci Lauth. “So with that being said after [committee members] went on the cruise, [they] thought, ‘well we could help out, we’re gonna do something.’ And we thought we were just going to have this little backyard tailgate and our goal was $1,000. And I am happy to say that this is our 10th year and we’re hoping to hit a $1 million this year.”
To date, Tailgate for Cancer has raised $869,450 for donation to cancer organizations that assist with funding research and supporting individuals that are going through treatment; $467,700 to the Ohio State James Cancer research Center, $111,750 to Auglaize County Cancer Association, $98,750 to the Mercer County Cancer Association, $91,000 to the Stefanie Spielman Fund and $7,250 in miscellaneous donations.
There will be many high-value items available in this years auction, but the tritoon boat is the special featured item available. According to volunteer Lisa Ruppert, the boat is the nonprofits attempt to make this year special, while also enticing people to help them reach the monetary goal.
One thing about this item that makes it more special is only 1,000 tickets are being sold — $100 for a ticket — something they say makes anyone’s chance of winning even higher. As of Tuesday morning, just under 500 tickets for the tritoon had been sold, and Lauth hopes to reach 500 by Oct. 13.
Along with putting their name in to win the boat, purchasing one of the tickets also gives individuals a chance to win a trip on the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer.
“In addition, up until Oct. 13 for the tailgate, we are offering a free cruise on the Buckeye Cruise too,” Ruppert said. “So for every lot of 100 tickets sold, we’ll pull for a ticket. So we’re almost to the 500 mark, so we’re hoping to get that by Saturday so we can pull the fifth winner for the cruise.”
Based out of Alma, Michigan, Avalon is a company that isn’t shy to working with community and charity events, mentioned Sandy Mast, office manager for The Boathouse at Grand Lake. The tritoon they chose is top of the line, she added.
“The boat, is powered with a Mercury 150 horsepower, which means, if you don’t have it loaded down with every relative you have you can probably go about 35 to 40 miles per hour on the boat which is kind of unheard of, but believe it or not that’s a pretty good speed on a pontoon,” she said.
Although the boat is the most talked about prize available, there are several high priced items available at the auctions being held at the event. Four tickets with a parking pass are up for auction for the Ohio State versus Michigan football game on Nov. 24. There will also be an Ohio State themed golf cart available, along with several other items at varying values.
During the event, they will be showing the Ohio State football game on two jumbotron style screens for people to enjoy. The nonprofit hoped to schedule the event for a day with an afternoon game, and unfortunately that didn’t happen this year.
“We just found out the game time is noon, so that means we have a lot of revamping to do because we have a 5K in the morning, which starts at 9 a.m.,” Lauth said.
Their 5K run/walk is one of their biggest events, with last year drawing around 600 participants. As individuals follow the route of the walk, they will see many memory boards for individuals who are either battling cancer, are survivors or lost their life to cancer.
“We do ‘in honor’ and ‘in memory’ boards for the walk, and in previous years there’s so many this year we’re only putting the boards in the park that have just recently been purchased,” Lauth said. “All the other boards from the previous year will be available for pickup at the tailgate.”
Whether the nonprofit meets their goal $1 million goal or not, one thing is certain, most of the proceeds from the event benefit Auglaize and Mercer County Cancer Associations, along with other local cancer organizations. The James is the furthest in distance the money benefits.
“Another thing that we do, we do a community t-shirt and all the proceeds for the shirt sales will go back, we’ll keep it with Auglaize County Cancer Association and Mercer County,” Lauth said. “Last year, I think we had over 700 t-shirts that were sold. The money does stay local.”