Sutton’s legacy lives on with fifth auction

KINGSTON — Despite the fact that more than a year ago, it seemed impossible that it would be helping women with cancer outside of the North Kitsap area, the Kathleen Sutton Inspirational Fund has grown in size to include other counties and other patients — and it just continues getting bigger and better.

But this didn’t happen by chance.

Money is needed to keep the fund’s coffers full, and Saturday will give North Kitsap residents the chance to do their share as a silent auction is held in Sutton’s honor. The event, which is the sole fundraiser for the cause and one organizers have come to rely on, will take over the Kingston Cove Yacht Club for its fifth consecutive year Oct. 6.

“Right now, we have 18 women that we are helping,” said event coordinator Vivi-Ann Parnell. “That is absolutely amazing. We have women from everywhere from Forks to Poulsbo. We really took off last year.”

The 2006 auction netted a record $12,000, allowing the group to expand its sights and help even more women. The fund itself provides traveling money to cancer patients who have to drive or take the ferry to hospitals in Seattle or other areas in the Puget Sound. The costs can add up, especially when the treatments are needed several times a week, as Sutton herself discovered while being treated for breast cancer. She started the fund toward the end of her fight, hoping to help ease others’ financial burdens slightly during an already emotionally draining time.

“I think it all goes to a great cause,” said event coordinator Debbie Anderson. This is her first year helping with the auction and the fund. She has been working with Parnell and a handful of other organizers to collect items.

Parnell said this year there are several trips that will be auctioned off, including a week-long stay at a three bedroom house in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and one week at a one bedroom house in Maui, Hawaii. In addition, there are handcrafted art glasses, artwork, gift baskets and certificates that will be at the Saturday event.

Anderson said her workplace has been inundated with items for the auction as people were making donations up until the end of last month.

“It’s so exciting,” Parnell said. “There are lots of gift certificates also. Now, we are helping women in Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam counties, and this makes it all happen.”

Anderson said following the auction she and the others will be working to strengthen ties with the Kingston business community and start other fundraisers and donation activities.

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