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Smith family raises $11,000 for foundation

The Smith family traveled to Atlanta to present a check for $11,200 to the Jack and Jill Foundation. They are Katie Smith, from left, Randy Smith, Kayla Smith, Lindsey King, director of development for the foundation, Heidi Cohen, executive director of the foundation, and Kristi Smith. SUBMITTED PHOTO

After Kayla Smith’s mom passed away a few years ago, Smith decided to host three fundraisers for the three organizations that supported her mother the most in her time of need.

This year was the third, and possibly final, fundraiser — and the biggest one yet. Smith and her family raised over $11,000 for the Jack and Jill Foundation, and she and her sisters and father traveled to Atlanta to deliver the check in person, and to say thank you.

“We were going to just send them a check, but that wasn’t the whole purpose,” she said. “It was to go down there and thank them for the irreplaceable memories that they gave us with our mom.”

The first two fundraisers benefitted Hospice of the Red River Valley and the Roger Maris Cancer Center.

After Gaylene Smith was diagnosed with cancer, the Smith family of Frazee traveled to the Bahamas for a week in April of 2010, courtesy of the Jack and Jill Foundation.

The Smith family presented the check to the foundation representatives on June 3, the anniversary of Gaylene’s death.

“All of that money will go to 10-15 families, which is amazing,” Smith said. “We are the first group that has raised over $2,000 for them. And we’re the first group to have had a parent pass away from cancer and go on a trip that has done a fundraiser for them.”

The Jack and Jill Foundation, which is similar to Make-A-Wish program but for adults, is supported through donations like the one the Smiths made. That donation, Smith said, is because of the supportive communities of Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Vergas and Perham.

At the benefit, “we had more people than expected, so that was great,” she said.

There was a spaghetti dinner at Speak Easy, live and silent auctions thanks to auctioneers Vince and Austin Bachmann, a DJ, Dilly bar sales, a photo booth and random games.

Smith said even after the auctions and games, the Bachmanns were able to raise about $2,500 extra for the cause with a “Fun to Need” game. The auctions were over and people didn’t necessarily get the items they wanted, but they still want to give money, so the auctioneer would ask who wanted to donate $100 to the cause.

After Jerome Tappe with Nereson’s offered to match up to $500, Smith said, “we had five people say ‘yup, here’s $100,’ so we got up to $1,000 really quick, in like 30 seconds.”

Then they offered people the chance to donate $50 or $20, which added up quickly as well.

Smith said she’d especially like to thank the businesses that sponsored tables at the benefit – American National Bank, Furey Funeral Home, Daggett Truck Line and the Nereson dealership. 

“When the night was over, I was like, ‘ah, I’m so glad this is done. I can have my life back.’ It was fun though; I love doing that type of thing. Since then, I’ve had 10 or 15 people ask if I was going to do it again, and now my head is saying, ‘don’t do it, don’t do it,’ but my heart is saying ‘do it,’ so we’ll see.”

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.