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By JOHN LEE McLAUGHLIN
Daily News Staff Writer
The First City Council on Cancer is looking for chairs painted with a personal touch to honor and memorialize — or simply just to benefit — community members stricken by cancer.
Personally painted chairs donated to the community nonprofit then will be auctioned during a special council fundraiser set for Sept. 16 in the commons of Ketchikan High School.
With its volunteer-based presence having pumped some $2 million of cancer-fighting support into Ketchikan and the surrounding communities over the past more than 20 years, the First City Council on Cancer annually hosts its prime fundraising event in March at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.
But “this year we were a little light,” council member Mary Ann Lindemann said. “So we needed a mid-year fundraiser.”
Lindemann said the answer came from Ketchikan's James Montgomery, who has donated food to the council's main auction buffet. His idea was a chair charity, or better yet, a “chairity.”
“Of course, we'd never thought about it or heard about it,” she said. “And that's where it started.”
Seeking 70-some works, the nonprofit is calling all artists, or perhaps self-prescribed non-artists, to paint chairs for the auction, hopefully also from the likes of Ketchikan's professional artisans.
Meanwhile, the 12-year-old Madisen Lundamo delivered the first painted chair, honoring her grandmother Judi Lundamo, who has been battling a rare type of smooth-muscle cancer for nearly a decade.
“She's always been a very sweet person,” Madisen Lundamo said. “She has been a steady rock. She's very supportive of what I do, and I love her.”
Her chair: It transitions top to bottom from mint green to teal — featuring stenciled sea creatures and legs of octopus suckers, barnacles or “whatever you see when you look at it” — for an under-the-sea type of feel.
“It's nice that (the council) has something creative, and we live in a very creative place,” she said, “and then you can take that creativity, and you can channel it into supporting (people with an) illness like cancer.”
Among others also crafting the four-legged works of art — stools are welcome, too — Candace Kelley just needs the right angle to pursue.
So far undecided with the available options, Kelley said she has been surveying youngsters to decide the final design of her now primer-white toddler's chair.
“I was wanting to do something strange,” said Kelley, who with her sister, Maida, runs the meet-the-artist watercolors booth along Mill Street in downtown Ketchikan, ”but my sister said, 'No, act normal.'”
On auction day, the council will present the finished chairs at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16 for a pre-auction sneak peak for an hour, with tunes provided by Karl Richey and Friends.
The auction — live, silent or a mix, depending on the number of donated chairs — then starts at 6:30 p.m Sept. 16 at Kayhi.
For those interested in painting a chair, contact Lindemann, auction co-organizer Kent Colby or the First City Council on Cancer.