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Chair-ity event raises funds to fight cancer: FCCC Chairity Auction set for Saturday at Kayhi
Artist Sandy Currall uses an array of brushes to paint Bauermalerei style flowers on a children’s chair on Aug. 28 at Paper Pirates. The chair will be auctioned at the First City Council on Cancer Chair Auction on September 14 at Ketchikan High School. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Daily News Staff Writer

Trade-ins are welcome.

First City Council on Cancer will be holding its second “Chairity” Auction this Saturday at the Ketchikan High School.

The fundraiser — the first of which was in 2017 and isn’t an annual event — is one of the main ways the council fills its coffers.

Mary Ann Lindemann, co-chair along with Linda Gilson, said this week that the council has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to cancer patients in southern Southeast since its inception about 20 years ago.

Lindemann said that about $50,000 has been awarded since the start of this year alone.

The initial “chairity” fundraiser realized nearly $17,000 for the council, according to Lindemann. At the annual FCCC St. Patrick’s Day auction, the nonprofit organization collected about $60,000. In the old days, she said, “it was at least $75,000.”

But while the donations change along with the community, the desire to assist cancer patients remains consistent.

“People are very gracious here,” Lindemann noted. “Money comes in here all through the year; someone might send us $1,000” and another might send $100.

Lindemann estimated the council had about 65 chairs to be auctioned off as of the beginning of the week. But she has heard about others that will be showing up by the day of the auction. All of the chairs are supposed to be at the high school commons by noon on Saturday.

Volunteers — FCCC is all volunteer, no paid staff — will arrange the chairs and set up for the evening’s big event.

An extensive variety of chairs is expected to be presented at the auction.

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center’s infusion suite staff bought a chair at the last auction, Lindemann said. It has been in the suite since then.

The nurses there — Cindy Carson and Jill Cowan — are donating that chair to this month’s auction, she said.

“Then they plan to pick up a different chair at (this September) auction for the suite,” she said.

Chairs are coming from far and wide in the community.

A number of teenagers are painting chairs, the co-chair shared. At least one elementary school classroom is painting a couple chairs; the high school art class is expected to contribute; a local daycare is participating; families are designing chairs; and artists of all capabilities are creating attractive chairs.

One “chair” will be made from a tractor seat, Lindemann said. Legs have been welded to it, she added, pointing out that it might be appropriate as a yard ornament.

Without giving out too many details about artists’ array of ideas, she said that she expected a “Seahawk” chair, reminiscent of the Seattle Seahawks football team.

Another chair is expected to be adorned with a lap quilt made by an accomplished local quilter, she said, adding “it’s just beautiful.”

Chairs also might honor or be in memory of a cancer patient, Lindemann noted. The auctioneer will take the time to share this information with the audience.

The proceeds from the auction are distributed as needed to area cancer patients.

Anyone with a diagnosis of cancer can receive up to $8,000 in FCCC assistance, Lindemann said.

“We call them scholarships,” she said. “A first scholarship can be as much as $3,000. Then the same person can receive $1,000 scholarships every six months” up to the limit.

Most often the scholarships are used to ease the cost of travel to oncology appointments, she said.

Airline tickets, rental cars and hotel rooms are all an expense when patients deal with cancer in Southeast Alaska, she added.

“It’s very expensive to fight cancer,” Lindemann concluded.

The auction is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday. Doors open an hour earlier for previewing the chairs.