‘Island Gift of Life’ raises $40,000

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO | Auctioneer Ken Lewis Jr. livened up the auction at Saturday's Gift of Life event as a lobster, getting bids for the Maine lighthouse weekend for 12.

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO | Auctioneer Ken Lewis Jr. livened up the auction at Saturday’s Gift of Life event as a lobster, getting bids for the Maine lighthouse weekend for 12.

More than 200 people attended the annual Cheryl Hannabury Memorial “Celebration of Life” cocktail party last Saturday, raising just over $40,000 for the Island Gift of Life Foundation. Held every year at the Ram’s Head Inn, this event helps the Foundation finance treatment for patients with life-threatening diseases on the East End.

Foundation president and the Island’s energetic and entertaining auctioneer, Ken Lewis Jr., fired up the crowd during the live auction, raising about $23,000 in bids for trips, parties and assorted adventures. The Maine lighthouse weekend for 12 topped the charts at $7,000.

Brett Surerus, the Foundation’s treasurer, said the most popular Chinese auction item was Vino Therapy — wine tours, spa gift certificates and, of course, wine. “The generosity and spirit of Shelter Island was present in this 15th year of the Gift of Life Foundation,” he said. “People really brought forward their best on that night.”

There were the generous high bidders but, new this year, Mr. Lewis said, was the chance for everyone to participate in supporting the Foundation’s annual contribution to the National Bone Marrow Registry by pledging as much as  $1,000 or as little as $25 by a show of hands, which he estimated will bring in another $3,000 to $4,000.

Beautifully wrapped baskets made up the Chinese auction and for the third year a silent auction featured work of East End artists.

“It was a very good turnout,” Mr. Lewis said. “There was a lot of local support from those who always come … a lot of new faces, which was very nice, too.” It was important, he said, to spread the word that the foundation is here not only to help those on Shelter Island but people on both the North and South forks.

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