Christian Schiefer Eames says that she enjoys planning quarter auctions for people in need. When she heard that Milford Police Department’s Corporal Shawn Brittingham and his wife, Missy, were facing a medical crisis, she knew she had to help.
“I worked with Shawn at Milford Police Department before leaving to become a nurse,” Ms. Eames said. “When I heard that their daughter had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, I knew I wanted to do something to help.”
On Friday, December 2, 2016, a Quarter Auction is planned at the Milford Elks Lodge. Doors open at 6 PM and the auction begins at 7 PM. Tickets are $10 at the door which includes one bidding paddle with additional paddles available for $5 each. Tickets are available in advance. In addition to the quarter auction, there will be raffles and a 50/50 drawing.
A quarter auction works like bingo and is part raffle, part auction. When people arrive, they are given a numbered paddle that corresponds to a numbered chip that is placed into a drawing basket. Items are donated for the auction that can include gift cards and other items. The items are placed on display with for about an hour with a description of what the item is and its value. When the auction begins, the item is held up for bid. Each person has a bucket in front of them and if they are interested in bidding, the place a quarter in the bucket and raise the paddle. People who purchase two paddles can double their chances of winning by putting two quarters in the bucket and raising both paddles. A chip is then drawn from the basket and the person holding the paddle with that number wins. If the number drawn is the paddle of someone who did not bid, they simply announce “No bid” and another number is drawn.
Ms. Eames said that the Brittingham’s have missed a significant time from work taking their daughter, Gabrielle, back and forth to treatment for rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that causes malignant cells to form in muscle tissue. Symptoms of the disease are a lump or swelling that keeps getting bigger or does not go away that may be painful. Treatment depends on where the tumor started, the size of the tumor and whether it has spread. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are the most common methods of treatment.
Only about three percent of childhood cancers diagnosed are rhabomyosarcoma with only 350 new cases diagnosed each year. More than half of the childhood cases are in children under the age of ten. There is research that indicates that rhabomysocaroma may be caused by genetic factors, but are unclear how gene changes lead to the disease. It may be inherited or it may be something that occurs prior to birth. There are no known lifestyle or environmental factors that seem to cause rhabomysocaroma, such as smoking or alcohol use during pregnancy.
Like most cancers, if it is caught in the early stages, the disease has a high survival rate. Early diagnosis has shown a 90 percent survival rate after five years. Children aged one to nine do better than older children, according to the American Cancer Society. If the disease is advanced, the survival rate drops to between 20 and 40 percent.
Ms. Eames said that she hopes to raise between $3,000 and $8,000 to help the Brittingham’s who also have two other children at home. Donations are being accepted for items to auction during the event.
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