Silent auction raises more than $3,000 for cancer organization

Samara Sands

Pamela Grimm spoke to an audience of more than 90 about her battle with breast cancer at the Art for Cancer: Silent Auction in Kent State University’s Student Center Friday. Grimm was diagnosed in December of 2009.

“There is a brief moment when you are listening to the results and getting the news that you prefer not to be getting and you feel something unpleasant in the pit of your stomach,” said Grimm, associate professor and chair for the department of marketing and entrepreneurship.

The Public Health Student Alliance hosted the event, which raised more than $3,000 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Relay For Life is a global event that benefits those who have battled cancer, remembers loved ones lost, and fights back against the disease, according to the Relay For Life website.

Grimm said her physical changes were minor compared to her mental and emotional changes.

“I am better able to embrace the joy of everyday life,” she said. “I am clearer about the things I do and don’t want. I see an exciting and adventurous life ahead of me and I don’t want to waste a minute of it.”

Grimm said many improvements and developments happen every year in fields of cancer treatment and research.

“I’m glad that we talk about cancer, our health and our well-being,” she said. “We provide each other with the support we need. No one is alone.”

Attendees were entertained by several song and poetry performances.

The art pieces consisted of several types of paintings, photographs and sculptures, which portrayed a variety of images and inspirations of nature including butterflies, flowers, trees, birds, human life and several others.

Artists who donated their artwork for the cause included Kent State President Lester Lefton, Vinay Cheruvu, assistant professor of biostatistics, Sunita Shakya, graduate student in the college of public health, Ashley Williams, senior fine arts major, Lori Bodnar, associate head coach for Kent State Women’s basketball, and Jeff Futo, Kent State police officer.

Donor Shakya said when she found out that the event would be for raising funds for the American Cancer Society, she knew she wanted to help.

“Since I’m from a health background, I know that living with cancer is something where you may feel different from others and feel isolated,” she said. “People like us who are not suffering from cancer cannot understand, so this kind of support gives them a moral and spiritual way to cope and to realize that there are people out there that care for them.”

Donor Bodnar said she has been indirectly affected by cancer and feels that the event is a great cause.

“I’ve been with the athletic department for the past 24 years and we’ve had a few people who passed away from cancer and also had a former player with cancer, so it has affected myself as well as the Kent State community,” she said.

The highest bid of the night was $120 and it was a picture of “Old Kent Mills and the Cuyahoga River,” which was donated by President Lefton.

Williams accepted a $100 bid for her art piece and Shakya also accepted bids of $100 for her two pieces. Frank Henry-Ala, member of the Public Health Student Alliance and emcee for the event, said he was very pleased of the outcome.

“We planned the event in a month and were able to secure 42 donations,” he said. “We had an overwhelming support from the College of Public Health, especially our dean. As a student group, it means a lot to have the support of the head of a college.”

Henry-Ala said for a few of the donors, this was the first time they’d had their work judged by others.

“They were extremely nervous that people would not bid. But my fellow organizer Lorriane Odhiambo and I had confidence in their work,” he said. “After this event, I’m sure our artists have a new found confidence.”

Contact Samara Sands at [email protected].