Kathleen Sutton Inspirational Fund swells by $18,000

KINGSTON — Pink was the color of the day as women and men alike gathered at the Kingston Cove Yacht Club Saturday afternoon to lay down a little green for a good cause. The fifth annual Kathleen Sutton Inspiration Fund auction did more than allow for a fun party and good time with friends, it raised more than $18,000 for women traveling for medical treatments for breast cancer.

The auction falls during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, adding an additional layer to the event which brought in over 100 people this year, said KSIF auction coordinator Vivi-Ann Parnell, all of whom had some link to the disease.

“I was here last year, too,” said Cuppa Bella owner Mark Scholl. “My business has donated items for this, and my mother is a 15-year survivor.”

Scholl’s mother, Marilyn Kutz, now works on the KSIF board and helped organize the auction. She said she’d seen hundreds of people move through the crowded yacht club during the three-hour event.

“We’re hopefully going to raise $15,000,” she said. “I’m really hoping.”

Last year’s event, which is the sole money maker for the group, brought in about $12,000, allowing the fund to expand to assist women in Jefferson and Clallam counties. Parnell said she’s uncertain what exactly the $18,000 will do this year, but she said she sees the numbers of women being helped growing in the future.

“We still are at 19 women,” she said of the number of cancer patients receiving help from the fund. “We’ve had about four or five end their treatment, and picked up four or five more though. It’s almost a steady stream of women who need help. It’s not going to become less, it’s going to become more, too.”

Kathleen Sutton started the fund after realizing how expensive it was to travel to Seattle for treatment several times a week. She wanted to help other women struggling with the same financial and emotional concerns brought on by the disease, and her friends took over the effort when she succumbed to cancer in April 2004 .

“Oh, it’s a fabulous event,” said Poulsbo resident Margene Smaaladen. “Vivi-Ann has done a fabulous job in here. I just like to bid to get the prices up and raise more money. I’ve bought tons of things already.”

The event featured live and silent auctions, and during the live portion, bidders were joking and laughing as they drove prices as high as they could afford and beyond. Parnell said she was amazed by how generous everyone was, and their desire to help others.

“I heard about it from Vivi-Ann, who is a friend of ours,” said Poulsbo resident Sheryl Fogarty. “This is my first year. I definitely will come back, it’s a good cause. And my mother had breast cancer, and I try to support any efforts I can.”

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