One man’s trash is a larger community’s fundraiser.
Amongst the ‘80s-era skis and lightly-used exercise equipment at a June 8 garage fundraiser was another item up for grabs: goodwill.
The DeHoog Yard Sale and Auction for a Cause was set up as a way to raise money for the DeHoog family after their son Ethan was diagnosed with leukemia on June 26, 2018 — just three days after his high school graduation.
The garage sale raised more than $12,000.
One of the people involved in putting the event together was Caroline Marko, owner of Salt Boutique on Main Street.
Marko knows the DeHoogs personally, with Ethan’s mother Kim having worked with her for years.
She said it’s important to remember that while others’ lives have continued in the last year that, in many senses, the DeHoogs have stood still.
“I think they need to know we’re still thinking about them,” she said.
“Our lives have all kind of moved on and we’re all doing our things and their lives have pretty much been in a bit of a standstill ever since last year.”
Numerous community members have donated items to the auction in the hope of raising funds to help pay for the family’s travel and medical expenses.
Their goal is to raise $100,000 total — a tall order, but as Sheena Miller explained, one made a little easier by the donation of a prize bike from last week’s Bike to Work & School Week.
Every year for the past seven years Peter Krause of McBike has given away a bike to be donated as part of the aforementioned week.
Miller said she was touched by the kindness when the Coupe family, whose son won the bike last year, said that if they won this year they wanted to pay it forward to the garage sale.
“Before we announced the draw the family came by and said, ‘If we win this bike, we want to pay it forward to Mark DeHoog and in order to help Ethan with his treatment’,” she said.
“I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah you’re not going to win the bike’, sure enough we draw and [their daughter] wins the bike,” she said.
The two said that Ethan’s treatment has cost the family around $200,000 in transportation costs and that they just want to do their part to ease the pressure on their lives a little bit and let them focus on being with their son.
A GoFundMe page that has been set up for the family has also raised just over $34,000 as of June 9.
“Mark DeHoog … does the most for this community of any person I’ve ever met, [he’s] the number one volunteer in the community,” said Miller.