Snowflake ornaments and twinkling blue lights hung against the exposed-brick walls and metal rafters of Abe and Jake’s Landing Saturday night, creating a wintry backdrop for Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s second annual Arctic Blast fundraiser.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Catch a Break, an LMH outreach program that provides financial assistance to cancer patients and survivors for everyday expenses. This includes everything from helping out with bills and medications to paying for groceries and clothing.
Tracy Davidson, an annual giving specialist with the LMH Endowment Association, was one of the main organizers of this year’s Arctic Blast. She said she estimated a crowd of about 200 people at the event.
“We want to raise as much as we can for Catch a Break,” she said. “We hope to raise about $15,000, after expenses. We would feel good about that.”
The fundraiser included performances by Tricks of Light fire jugglers, strong woman Mama Lou and a capella group Genuine Imitation. Guests could also participate in a silent auction, sample hor d’oeuvres and drinks, and have pictures taken in front of a roaring fireplace.
Davidson said planning for the event started three months ago, and involved the work of countless volunteers.
“It’s not just me. It’s a huge group effort,” Davidson said. “We couldn’t do it without our volunteers. They’re so passionate about it; they’re survivors themselves.”
Lawrence resident Dianna Nelson is one of those volunteers. Nelson, who gives her time to several other LMH programs, helped set up decorations for the event. As a 12-year survivor of breast cancer, Nelson said she knows firsthand how Catch a Break can make a difference to those fighting the disease.
“It’s not just medical reimbursement,” she said. “It’s gasoline for the car so they can drive to their appointments, it’s helping with their utilities. It’s just a little extra.”