A Brownstown Central High School senior put her talent of baking cakes to good use Saturday night, and the payoff for her efforts was producing one that earned top dollar in the annual HOPE Medora Goes Pink dessert auction.
The $1,500 that the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups cake brought in caught Abbie Reynolds by surprise.
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“It’s not real complicated, and I make a lot of cakes for family and friends,” she said.
Reynolds’ cake was the last one to be sold during the auction, which raised $8,700 for HOPE Medora Goes Pink. That event, conducted on the second Saturday of October, is designed to bring awareness to all types of cancer and raise money for those touched by the disease.
The first dessert auction was in 2013 in the 237 Building at Medora Christian Church as a way to fund the costs of HOPE Medora Goes Pink becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. After that first auction, then-state District 44 Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford and Mark Dennis, a certified public accountant, agreed to do the work for legal and filing paperwork for free.
So the funds from the first event were used to pay insurance and storage costs and other operating expenses for HOPE Medora Goes Pink, said Debi Wayman of Medora, who co-founded HOPE Medora Goes Pink with her daughter, Deven Wayman-Shirley, in 2009. It was just a couple of years after Debi’s 75-year-old mother, Helen Sipes, passed away as a result of the spread of her breast cancer.
The desserts are made and donated by people from all age groups. Reynolds, who also had a second cake go for $300, was joined by recent Brownstown Central graduate Brooklyn Snodgrass. Her Campfire Cake went for $650.
“It’s kind of like a s’mores cake,” she said. “It has chocolate and yellow cake mix layer with chocolate icing in between and marshmallow icing on the outside. It’s the first time I’ve made it. I hope it’s good. It looked good when I was making it.”
Snodgrass said the cake wasn’t hard to put together.
“I love doing stuff like this,” she said.
Rose Mary Cox, a member of the HOPE Medora Goes Pink committee, contributed a couple of baked items for the auction.
“Those are really healthy,” Cox said of her energy bars. “… and I have peanut butter flan cake, which is not healthy.”
Cox, whose father died of brain cancer at 80, said HOPE Medora Goes Pink is a good thing.
“We touch people’s lives all over the United States,” she said.
Prior to the auction, HOPE Medora Goes Pink had distributed $127,200 to those fighting cancer. Those funds are distributed through $100 money orders or $50 Jay C Food Store and $50 Circle K gift cards. They are mailed in a pink envelope with a pink love letter.
Besides the dessert donations, the auction requires a number of volunteers, including Roger Hurt, who provides the sound system for both the dessert auction and HOPE Medora Goes Pink. He also helps auctioneer Larry Bennett with the dessert auction.
“I set everything up,” Hurt said for HOPE Medora Goes Pink, which is set for Oct. 12. “I set up the bands and set the entertainers up.”
Hurt said while it’s a lot of work, it’s for a good cause, making it worthwhile.
“I actually got involved with this down here when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer,” he said. “That’s been a little over five years ago. These guys were super great in that cause, and I just got a hold of it and just ran with it.”
Many of the youth in the community also help out each year, including Alex McRoy and Wyatt Combs.
“We go to church here, and they asked for help,” McRoy said.
He said he was up for anything.
“Whatever they need me to do,” he said.
Combs, who is 14 and lives in Medora, has been helping out at the auction and HOPE Medora Goes Pink for three years.
“I’m in charge of the costumes,” Combs said of HOPE Medora Goes Pink. He actually started out wearing the cartoon costumes when he was younger.
Sue Isaacs said preparations for the dessert auction began Aug. 11 after Medora Christian Church’s morning service before the event and continued throughout the week leading up to the auction. The activity really picked up Friday.
“We worked from about 10 o’clock yesterday to about 3,” she said. “Then we came back this morning at 10 o’clock and have worked all day long.”
There is a core group of volunteers, including Karen Brock, Mitzie Davers, Nancy Davis and Rhonda Freeman. Ruth Beesley is the head cook.
“We have several different ladies come in to help us,” Isaacs said. “They help us all the time.”
To feed the 220-plus people in attendance at the auction, the cooks made 199 chicken breasts and 175 salads.
Setup of the tables, each decorated in a different theme, began the previous Sunday with the help of husbands, sons and others.
“We decorated them all through the week,” Isaacs said. “We just have so many that help.”
Wayman said the dessert auction is about more than raising money.
“It’s one day of the year when people can laugh and come together and share their experiences and support,” she said.
Wayman said she is always overwhelmed with emotion and is hardly able to speak and express her gratitude to all who give of their time.
Melinda Hypes, who lives in Campbellsburg, went to school with Wayman and attended her first dessert auction Saturday night with her husband, Morris.
“I am a cancer (kidney) survivor,” she said. “Both my parents had cancer, but they are now deceased. I know the importance of helping other people when they are going through that. We just want to help.”
She said the dessert auction was awesome.
As for Reynolds, baking is just a fun hobby right now, but she said it might one day become more than that.
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Donations may be sent to HOPE Medora Goes Pink, P.O. Box 125, Medora, IN 47260.
One hundred percent of the donations will be given to those affected by all types of cancer.
This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Information: Debi Wayman at 812-966-2754 or 812-530-0093, [email protected] or facebook.com/medoragoespink