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Cancer event raises $5,000

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Liz Niles, left, and Laura Wood created lots of smiles in their superhero costumes Saturday at the Forest Ridge cancer event.
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Ralph Hastings said he couldn’t think of a better, more appropriate use of his late wife Darlene’s collection of Christmas and Boyds Bear collectibles than selling them at Saturday’s event and donating proceeds to help cancer victims. Darlene Hastings died of cancer earlier this year at the age of 64.

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Merchandise on sale Saturday at Forest Ridge was worth a “Fortune.” Quite literally.

When all was said, sold and done, approximately $5,000 was raised for the Forest Ridge Fortune Fund during Saturday’s “Be a Superhero: Help Fight Cancer” event. The money will help local cancer patients with certain expenses faced when battling the disease – items like transportation, equipment and accessories that can fall through the cracks of health insurance plans.

“I am extremely happy,” said Stacy Dick, who teamed with Debbie Howe to stage the event. “Everything came full circle. Everything went better than I could have imagined. We do want to thank the community for everyone’s support.”

Approximately 500 people attended Saturday’s event, browsing a variety of booths that featured everything from handmade beds for pets, jewelry, essential oils and even Christmas ornaments. The vendors in turn donated proceeds to the Forest Ridge Fortune Fund established by Knightstown teacher Shelly Fortune, who received treatment at the Ball Cancer Center location at Forest Ridge.

And each vendor, it seemed, had a personal story to tell of their own, or about a relative’s struggle with cancer.

Therese Hamilton was selling handmade beds for pets, with the assistance of her husband, Donnie, and his brother. She crocheted the items, a skill taught her by an aunt who died from cancer in June.

“I wish she could see these,” Hamilton said of her Aunt Joann.

Laura Wood and Liz Niles greeted shoppers in their Superhero shirts and their pink tutus, adding a special kind of spirit to the occasion.

“My niece is a seven-year cancer survivor,” Liz said. “She had lymphoma. My childhood best friend is fighting cancer right now.”

Meanwhile, Anita Hillman was busy helping Ralph “Buzz” Hastings with his display of Christmas items, Boyds bears and Longaberger baskets, all items Darlene loved and left behind when she succumbed to cancer earlier this year.

Then there was Ashtyn Nunn, a 2014 New Castle graduate, who was selling rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets with mom, Heidi. Her uncle, Gary, had pancreatic cancer.

The Fortune Fund helps any patient in Henry County who has cancer with different needs like post-op supplies, medical equipment, gas cards and even utility bills.

The event was scheduled last week, but rescheduled due to inclimate weather. A butterfly release was held at various locations last week after weather interfered.

Dick said 30 vendors participated in Saturday’s event, one that was personal for her as well.

“My father-in-law passed away in 2007 from lung and liver cancer,” Dick said. “I have a friend who is going through cancer treatments at the Ball Cancer Center right now, so it’s very personal to me. We’ve all been touched by it. If you don’t know somebody who has cancer, you will.”