‘Cheers to 100 Years’: American Cancer Society celebrates with summer gala
by Katie Turpen
Special to The Star
Jul 28, 2013 | 4134 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Members of The American Cancer Society Summer Gala Committee organize invitations for this year’s summer gala. Submitted photo
Members of The American Cancer Society Summer Gala Committee organize invitations for this year’s summer gala. Submitted photo
The American Cancer Society is celebrating a century of fighting cancer this year and Calhoun County is commemorating the milestone with a special event.

“Cheers to 100 Years, Here’s to More Birthdays,” the Calhoun society’s summer gala, will take place Friday, Aug. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Anniston Country Club.

Scarlet Thompson, Northeast Alabama area director, said the gala will include a silent auction, a gourmet dinner, live jazz band performance and a live auction.

Tickets are by invitation only and Thompson says the society has sent out close to 1,000 invites.

“Last year, we filled the Anniston Country Club as full as we could make it,” said Thompson.

The gala, which Thompson says has been held for at least a decade, normally has around 20 sponsors.

“We have three local sponsors so far,” Thompson said. Merrill Lynch and Northeast Alabama Surgical Associates, both Presenting Sponsors, which requires a donation of at least $5000, and Alacare Home Health & Hospice.

Thompson says the reception’s silent auction will include packages featuring Alabama football tickets, artwork, local restaurant gift cards and dance and golf lessons. The live auction will include jewelry, vacation packages and a football autographed by Nick Saban.

“It’s so exciting for people to have the chance to bid on those items and also support a worthy cause,” said Thompson.

The gala is honoring cancer survivor and longtime Calhoun County resident Guice Potter, a Merrill Lynch associate and retired president of AmSouth Bank in Anniston. Potter recently stayed at the American Cancer Society’s Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham, which is available free of charge to anyone battling cancer — “a little known service of the society,” Thompson said.

Event Chair Ike Brown, vice president of Merrill Lynch in Anniston and a close friend of Potters, said he is delighted to join the American Cancer Society in honoring Potter for his contributions to the local community.

“I heard he was being honored at the event and I knew I had to be part of it,” said Brown. “I knew him as a mentor. I think so much of him.”

Potter is a member of the board of the Northeast Alabama Entrepreneurial Center and is also the Chairman of the Endowment Committee of St. Michaels Episcopal Church in Anniston.

“He is well thought of and well known in the community,” said Brown. “He has a lot of integrity and is a high-quality person.”

Donations to the society go towards treatment facilities such as the Hope Lodge, general patient services and research for a cure.

All proceeds from the Calhoun County gala will benefit the society. Thompson says guests will have the opportunity to make donations at the event in honor of a loved one who has battled cancer.

Those unable to attend can still make a gift that will be recognized during the evening.

“We’ve always had tremendous support in the Calhoun County area,” said Thompson. “The summer party is a great way to end our fundraising season for the year. It should be a really fun night.”
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