Community shows up in a big way for Evan Valentine
600 buy dinners, 220 donate baskets at fundraiser
CLARENDON – There was a big turnout from the Holley community on Sunday for a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle to support Evan Valentine and his family.
Evan, 15, was diagnosed with leukemia on Oct. 19. He has completed his first round of chemotherapy. On Sunday morning, his cell counts were high enough where doctors encouraged him to leave the hospital and attend the fundraiser.
The parking lot at the Clarendon Rec Hall was nearly full before the doors opened for the fundraiser at 1 p.m. Inside there was a sea with people wearing orange T-shirts, many saying “Evan Strong.” There were about 600 dinner tickets sold, 160 pounds of pasta cooked “and trays and trays of meatballs,” said Trina Lorentz-Lang, a family friend.
The community also donated 220 baskets and 10 silent auction items. So far, 800 orange shirts have been printed by B&T Creations with all profits donated to Evan.
Local businesses and organizations that contributed to the dinner include Sam’s Diner, Jimmy Z’s, the Albion Running Club and many other community members, said Lorentz-Lang.
Sue Rowcliffe was instrumental in organizing the dinner and volunteers. Jennifer Morgan and Kerry Lonnen organized the basket raffle, and Troy Kingdollar arranged the use of the Clarendon Rec Hall, secured donated food for the benefit and spent several hours in the kitchen. Clarendon firefighters also cooked food and donated the space for the benefit.
“We literally have an army behind us,” Diane Valentine said in a letter read by family friend and neighbor, Bob Miller. “Without all of you, your kind words of support, your love, your prayers, all of this here tonight, we would be lost. You have helped us more than you know. The doctors and staff at Golisano are second to none. We are so very fortunate to have such incredible health care so close to where we live. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting with Evan and I told him that a lot of people go through their entire lives and never know all the people they have touched. I told him that he has been given a gift because at 15 he definitely knows the people he has touched. You are a gift he will carry with him.”