A cancer diagnosis is a serious, sobering situation, but the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation faces off with the deadly disease in the best way they know how – an upbeat evening of goal-oriented fundraising, country-style.

Billed as the “best seven hours of summer,” the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation Barndance will kick off at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at Emricson Park, 1313 Kishwaukee Valley Road. A barbecue dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. followed by live music by Blackwater Gold, Libido Funk Circus and Hans & The Hormones. 

Evening fundraisers include a 50/50 raffle and live auction, and new this year is a card raffle. Replacing the bucket raffle from past years, the card raffle will be a drawing for 14 themed packages. A full deck of 54 cards will be sold for each package at $20 per card. Players will pick a card that is then torn in half with the buyer and seller each keeping half. Once the full deck of cards has been sold, the winner will be drawn, giving the buyer a one-in-54 chance at winning.

The live auction is loaded with fabulous prize packages such as a Nashville getaway for four with Steve and Diane Gavers as tour guides, a Sedona wine package for four with VIP wine tours, a Kentucky Derby package including VIP tickets to the 2018 running of the Kentucky Derby and a Chicago Cubs rooftop experience for 10.

“We offer something for everyone, from a $20 raffle ticket to a $5,000 live auction item,” said Denise Graff Ponstein, vice president of GCCF.

She said the highlight for her is the announcement of the Never Be Defeated award winners. The award – a Barndance tradition – is given to honor cancer survivors whose positive attitudes have inspired others.

“This is why I participate,” said Graff Ponstein.

As summer weekends go, this is a very busy weekend in the city of Woodstock, with city-sponsored Summer in the Park events July 12 to 15, Barndance July 15 and the Woodstock Folk Fest on the Square July 16.

“We have a lot of terrific things going on in our town,” said Graff Ponstein. “I’m thrilled and ecstatic that people are still coming out for Barndance.”

Inspired by its founder and namesake cancer survivor Steve Gavers, the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation provides funding to raise cancer awareness through education and screenings, improve cancer care for local residents and support cancer research. To date, the foundation has raised more than $6.8 million.

In its 18th year, the event continues to draw sell out crowds.

“I think the energy we bring to what we do keeps people coming out,” said Steve Gavers.  

He also attributes the success of the event to the size of our community. “If you’re a big city or town, you don’t have the bond we have.”

Since the foundation has no paid employees and an army of volunteers for Barndance each year, 100 percent of proceeds can benefit key partnership agencies.

Ticket cost is $50 per person, available to anyone 21 years of age and older. Tickets are available online at gavers.org or can be purchased in person at American Community Bank & Trust, 1290 Lake Ave., Woodstock; or at the McHenry, Crystal Lake or Huntley locations.

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