Locals Battle Cancer

ST. MARYS —  Hundreds of local residents came together to help battle cancer as part of an annual fundraiser.

The St. Marys Tailgate for Cancer took over the Eagles parking lot this weekend. There was a stage set up for the event’s live entertainment, and TSC in St. Marys provided a large TV screen featuring the OSU football game versus California.

Shortly after the event started Saturday afternoon, several people were already there sporting their red OSU gear and watching the Akron/Michigan football game.

The first of four bands, Almost Empty, was playing crowd pleasers like “Brown Eyed Girl.”

Dave Stilwell, one of the Tailgate For Cancer committee members, said the event was going very well so far.

“Friday night we had a really nice crowd,” he said. “We sold a lot of tickets in advance and had a lot of donors already.”

The Tailgate Fund goes through the St. Marys Community Foundation and is an active fund all year, Stilwell said. Many people don’t know they can donate to this fund any time of the year, not just in the weeks surrounding the event.

The event is important, Stilwell said, because so many people have been touched by cancer. Stilwell lost his father to the disease.

“It’s just something we want to do to give back - to make a difference,” he said.

People were still buying tickets Saturday afternoon, he said, and with the donations already received, this year should be very successful, Stilwell said.

He emphasized that the event is not just for the St. Marys community. People from all surrounding areas come and donate.

“We have sponsors from Celina, New Bremen, Minster,” he said.

Stilwell said he enjoys giving his time for the event each year, and was taking pictures and announcing for the event that day.

“I just like to volunteer,” he said. “Everybody in this committee does everything. Everybody pitches in. It’s really an amazing committee.”

A lot of community members volunteer to pick up trash, he said.

Later, during halftime of the OSU game, there would be a live auction.

Juli Sprague and Juli Axe were in charge of this, as well as the silent auction and the raffle.

Prizes for the silent auction included a La-Z Boy recliner, a weeping cherry tree, a Buckeye fire ring and a package of Ohio State tailgating gear.

“Some (items) we got at cost, but most were donated,” Axe said.

The event also featured a raffle, where people could buy tickets and use their tickets for any of the items being raffled.

The live auction items included items made and donated by community members, including an OSU quilt and a wooden shelf with “Buckeye” carved in the front.