By CHERIL VERNON
A benefit auction is set for Saturday to help a Palestine man who is fighting brain cancer.
Cliff Perry, 46, was diagnosed a few months ago with glioblastoma. He and his wife, Ashly, have five children and two grandchildren. Three of his children still live at home.
Until the time of his diagnosis, Perry was employed with Baker Chemical in Fairfield, driving a truck.
“Due to seizures caused by the brain cancer, he is not able to work. His employer has been very good to him and is trying to keep him on the insurance as long as he can to help with bills, but that is going to end at some point,” said April Johnston, who is his aunt and part of the group of “Cliff Hangers” who are hosting the benefit auction. “His treatments are going to get more intense and life of a family still goes on.”
The benefit auction will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Palestine Senior Activity Center, located at 200 Church St. in Palestine. The auctioneer will be Colton London.
“I think it will be a good time for everyone to visit, make some friends while helping a good cause,” Johnston said. “That's what the world runs on, helping others.”
Food, drinks and auction items are all part of this event. Shep's B-B-Q & Catering will provide a barbecue meal which will include sliced brisket, sausage, potato salad, salad, beans and tea.
“Shep's is donating a portion of that to help us. He (Bruce Barrett) is very kind to help us with the meal,” Johnston said.
The $25 ticket to attend the benefit auction will include the barbecue meal and five tickets for the drawing.
“We will eat first and hope to start the auction at 5:30 p.m.,” Johnston said. “We will have different raffle baskets set around the room such as an Avon basket, gardening basket, Ducks Unlimited, princess basket, all kinds of things. You can take your five tickets and put them in for a chance to win the ones you like. You can buy extra raffle tickets for a dollar.”
Some of the “Cliff Hangers” group that his helping to put on the benefit includes Trent and Selina Jowell, April Gonzales from 5J Trucking, Teresia Coker, Tina Teetz, Jennifer and Danny Wallace, Johnston and several others.
“We started meeting to figure out what we could do to help and we thought of putting on an auction. It's a good way to bring people together,” Johnston said.
Auction items at this point include: handmade fire pit, handmade blankets and quilts, deer antler gun rack, gun rack, fishing bows, hunting bows, gun, patio heater, Magic Motion clock, Sony entertainment system, jewelry sets made locally, designer purses, homemade Christmas wreaths, furniture, Waterford crystal vase, zipline tickets, CDs, antique World War II money bought from an estate sale and many other miscellaneous items.
Other auction items include: a flag that flew over the Texas state capitol in honor of Perry; and a whitetail deer personalized hunt.
Johnston and her husband Mike are auctioning off a Granny Muffin Wine Cruise. The “wine cruise” will consist of a gourmet meal prepared by Sabor a Pasion chef Simon Webster and Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor Christina Gardner at the Johnstons' home on Lake Palestine.
“Following dinner, Captain Mike will give the auction winners a Granny Muffin Wine Cruise around Lake Palestine with dessert and drinks on the dock after the tour,” Johnston said.
Anyone who would like to drop off an item for the auction or for the drawings, may drop items off by today (so organizers have time to list the items for the auction) at the Texas Art Depot, located at 301 W. Oak St. in downtown Palestine.
“We hope to have a good auction,” Johnston said.
In addition to the auction and drawings, the benefit event also will include a game of card pool.
Perry and his family plan to be in attendance at the benefit.
“He gets very tired because of all of the treatments, so he may not be able to stay very long,” Johnston said.
Sadly, with glioblastoma there are no true warning symptoms.
“He had a headache and his eyes weren't working as well as normal and he was tired, things everybody deals with” Johnston said. “One day he was getting ready for work and he had a seizure. After tests, it turned out he has three tumors in his brain.”
Glioblastoma typically affects males between the age of 42 to 60, though it is possible for women and children to be diagnosed as well.
“There is no cure. They can treat it with chemo or radiation or surgery, but because you are dealing with the brain, you can possibly cause another problem or disability,” Johnston said. “It's a catch 22.”
Johnston said Perry and his extended family are learning more about the brain cancer every day.
“His family has a hard road ahead as well as financial difficulties due to him not being able to work and the medical bills from his treatments,” Johnston said. “We are trying to help ease that burden. At the same time, we are of a Christian faith and we know miracles happen every day, so we are looking for that too.”