By Kitty Gartmann, Beth Anne Rekowski and Sarah Taylor Mayhak
Throwing a benefit for someone battling cancer for a second time is a very tenuous thing. Here’s the truth: offering up the shallow platitudes of “there is a blessing in the storm” or “everything happens for a reason” or “God’s timing is perfect” or “you are so brave” are at best inappropriate, and at worst, offensive. Let that sink in for a moment. A woman in her late twenties, who has already battled brain cancer once, has come out of remission and is going through hell again and more. Nothing about this situation is fair, and I believe God weeps along with us, hot, angry tears, in such righteously infuriating times as these. All that to say, what can we offer as a comfort? Do we avoid the subject? Do we refrain from calling, texting or writing for fear of not saying the right thing? By no means. What you can offer to Anne or others in a situation like this is nothing more or less than your presence. Show up. Call. Text. Write. Send a snapchat with a funny filter. When you do this, be prepared to listen, to share the silence, to refrain from judgement, and to love boldly.
Come to this benefit on Saturday November 11th and stand in solidarity with us as we FLIP OFF CANCER alongside of Anne. To know that someone has spared an intention for you, a moment, a glance, for you alone, is a reminder of the connection we are blessed to share with other human beings. I believe we can find both power and endurance in the knowledge that we matter to another person.
Let’s all show up for Anne to FLIP OFF CANCER. Here’s what you can expect: A full afternoon and evening of opportunities to show love, while showing up for Anne and her family in tangible ways. If you’ve had the privilege of getting to know Anne, you know that art, in all its forms, is her lifeblood. She creates, she invents, she evokes emotion, and she leaves places and people changed by the work she produces. The Sawmill itself sports a giant mural upstairs that Anne feverishly completed days before getting (another) brain surgery. To honor Anne in this way, we will have a Silent Art Auction from makers near and far who have been touched by Anne’s work and her experience. Makers include: Shelbyville, Kentucky potter Susan Layne; Harrisonburg, Virginia photographer Katie Schmid as well as faith-based artist Mary Hairston; Madison, Wisconsin fiber artist Melissa Jenkins as well as tattoo artist Jonathan Jenkins and cross-stitch artist Allie Schjoth; Wausau, Wisconsin area textile artist Jen Triolo; Southern California based illustrator Sydni Brawley of Moon River Print Company; and more. Many of these makers have crafted designs specifically for this event and to stand in solidarity with Anne as she battles Brain Cancer a second time.
Bid boldly and bid loudly (even in silence) on these meaningful and one-of-a-kind items. Aside from art in its familiar mediums, Anne is also a poet. If you caught us when we hosted our monthly performance slam, Margins to Central Wisconsin, at The Glass Hat in Wausau, WI in 2015 you may have seen Anne perform some of her work. Performance is another medium that resonates with Anne, and throughout the entire benefit we will be featuring different performers, honored to grace the stage and extend a finger with us as we Flip Off Cancer. Our performers include: local musicians Winchester, Clyde, Bob Odegard, JG Lightborne, Bert Mayhak, Mollie Hartwig, Ryan Taylor, Mark Robl and more music still being added! In addition to great music, we’ll take a dose of laughter from Madison area comedians Vanessa Pants, Brittany Tilander, Cynthia Marie, and Stevie Leigh Crutcher.
Before the house starts rockin’, we will start selling VIP entry passes at 2pm, which will gain early admission and dibs on buying baked goods and will gain access to being first bidders for silent auction items. Throughout the day, there will be an hourly cake walk, a cookie buffet and bake sale, sunflower notes to Anne, Anne’s art on notecards, #FLIPOFFcancer fingernail painting, campfire s’mores, a doggie kissing booth, raffles, 50/50 raffle, silent auction gift basket raffles, a food truck (donating percentage of sales) from 2-6 and pizza from 4-6, drinks…and did we say endless baked items and even more raffles! Raffle drawings will begin at 6pm.
To date, raffle prizes are a 2016 signed Packers football, Packer tailgate starter kit, coffee smorgasbord, log cabin bird house, 5-night Tennessee B&B getaway, Memory Bear, handcrafted wine rack and wine, Badgers lighted glass block, and so much more.
So, c’mon Merrill!! Join with Anne’s Apron Brigade to show Anne that we’re right behind her in this finger flippin’ battle!! She is just one…but together we are Anne’s Army!!
Special thanks to the Sawmill for venue usage!
NOTE: Online donations can be made at the event!