LIMA — First, Katie Tovarnak heard the number 125 called. So close, but not quite the 25 she held in her hand. Then another chance for the 17-year-old because no one had 125.
But instead of 25, she heard 30. Also a number not held by any bidder at Saturday’s “Quarters for a Cure: Quarter Auction and Bingo.” Another chance, and this time she is a winner and her table at the Apollo Career Center erupts.
For just a quarter bid, Katie took home a snack and margarita mix. She’ll turn it over to her mom sitting next to her and hope for another win, preferably an origami necklace she spied earlier.
“I think I can win again,” she said, figuring that her table had some luck going for it. Just before her big win, 10-year-old Kayla Bishop won a recycled tote bag.
About 300 people, mostly women, came to support a good cause and hopefully bring home some merchandise. The event was sponsored by Shawnee, Lima, Roselawn and Wapakoneta Manors. It raised $4,000, half headed to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides and the rest to the local Breast Cancer Awareness Coalition.
“There is just a real need for this,” said Jennifer Mills, marketing director for the four facilities.
Mills pointed to a statistic showing that 120 people out of every 100,000 in Allen County have breast cancer. The national average is 116 out of every 100,000 people.
Many wore pink Saturday to support the cause. Many also bid on most every item (there were 86 total worth about $3,000). It only took a quarter to bid, except for some of the more expensive items that cost two quarters. Once bidding, participants waited in hopes that their number would be called.
“If you don’t bid, you don’t win,” Genia Bishop said, echoing the obvious stated by auctioneer Bart Mills a few minutes earlier.
The noise and response to winning grew bigger as the afternoon went on. That included the occasional groan and disappointing sigh when a coveted prize went home with someone else. Still, most were just glad to be helping.
“It’s inexpensive and it is for a good cause,” said Sally Hauenstien, who was in charge of collecting quarters from the others at her table. Her mother-in law, Rosie Hauenstein, hoped for a chance to win a certain purse.
Lynn Cramer wasn’t even sure what she had won, but yelled out enthusiastically when her number was called. Friends at her table shared in the excitement.
“I am not a winner,” she said, having a hard time believing she actually won. “I was just donating. I did not expect to win.”