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Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager

BRAD CHESNEY, 3, eats Cheese Doodles with father Steve during Saturday’s Lion’s Club auction. The benefit raised $8,000 to cover the family’s mounting medical costs for treatment of Brad’s lepto-menengial tumor.

'This Is a Really
Hearfelt Effort'

By Jeanne Sager
ROSCOE — February 5, 2002 – Kathy Bryant had a good feeling about the people filling the Rockland Firehouse Saturday afternoon.
“This is really a heartfelt effort,” the Livingston Manor Lion’s Club member said, looking around as the hall filled with a standing-room-only crowd for the Lion’s Club auction.
Auctions are always popular – people are out looking for a bargain. But this wasn’t your average fund-raiser.
Every single one of the 300-plus items up for sale was donated by a business, an organization or a local resident.
And all of the money was going to Steve and Lisa Chesney, the parents of 3-year-old Brad who’s been suffering since last August with a lepto-menengial tumor.
Little Brad came to his mother one day last summer complaining that he couldn’t see, and doctors soon told his horrified parents that he was suffering with a tumor in his brain.
Two faint scars on the youngster’s head show where one of the tumors has been removed already. But there are more tumors left, and the Chesneys have had to delay surgery to get a second opinion in Boston.
The Chesneys want the best for their youngest son, but, of course, all these medical treatments don’t come without a hefty price tag.
“We have insurance,” Lisa explained, “but it doesn’t cover everything.”
For example, there is no pediatric neurosurgeon covered by their plan. One doctor has been kind enough to donate his services, but not every practitioner will do that and hospital bills are still mounting.
The Chesneys looked around in wonderment at the Rockland Firehouse Saturday night – at a community that had come together for a second time to help them out.
“This is awesome, this is wonderful,” Lisa said.
“It’s amazing that they’ve done this, and for the second time,” Steve added. “They held a pancake breakfast for us in October.”
The auction wasn’t anything they’d ever expected.
But the New Windsor Lion’s Club, hearing of the Chesneys' problems, decided they had to do something.
The Lion’s Club has traditionally gotten involved in cases where people’s vision is involved.
And because Brad lost his sight at the beginning of his illness, they were notified of the problem.
Jerry Schuster, head of the New Windsor club, asked the Livingston Manor Lion’s Club to join in, and the two clubs decided they had to do something.
“These are local people, and their need is really very great,” Bryant explained.
The clubs decided an auction would be the easiest way to raise a large amount of money, and Schuster, an auctioneer, donated his services.
They began advertising for items for the auction, soliciting businesses and residents alike.
“The amount of things collected outdid our wildest dreams,” Bryant said. “We’ve got baked goods, collectibles, lots of furniture – everything.”
The number was upwards of 300 by Friday, and at least 50 more items came in Saturday prior to the auction.
“We’ve had some real positive feeling about this,” Bryant added. “People have come from all over – Tri-Valley, Walton, Downsville.”
John and Darcy Atkins had come up to Roscoe all the way from Middletown just for the occasion.
They are regulars at benefit auctions, they said, and though they had never met the Chesney family, they hoped to find some good buys while helping out a family in need.
Lucretia Wahl of Downsville, a former Callicoon resident, didn’t know the Chesneys either. But she had similar feelings.
“I came early to get a seat up front,” she said with a laugh from her chair in the second-to-last row. “I don’t know the family, but I read about this in the paper and I thought maybe I could help out.”
The word about the auction seemed to have spread across the area.
Lynn Robinson, a Walton auctioneer, had seen fliers posted at his auction barn and knew folks would probably be heading to Roscoe for the event.
And with no minimum bid required and no commission for the auctioneer, the odds of raising a large amount of money for the Chesneys were high.
“We’re hoping people will remember this is for a good cause,” Bryant noted.
By the end of the night, the clubs raised more than $8,000.
“My personal goal was $5,000,” Bryant said, “and everyone thought I was crazy.
“When we totaled it all up, we just couldn’t believe it. This is definitely the biggest thing we’ve ever done.”
Tax-deductible donations for the Chesney family can still be sent to the Lion’s Club, P.O. Box 151, Livingston Manor, NY 12758.

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