COMMUNITY Save A Rack raises $33,000 The annual event at Backaracks brought in funds for Festival of Hope.

The Backaracks Save A Rack fundraiser brought in more than $33,000 for the Festival of Hope. On Thursday, fundraiser organizers presented a symbolic check to the Festival of Hope. Pictured at the ceremonial presentation were (left to right): Front row, Juewl Simonton, Backaracks co-owner; Terry Lyle, of Backaracks; Kendra Dean, KNEB; Kathy Walker, Festival of Hope; LeAnn Grasmick, Festival of Hope; Back row, Racehl Sams, Backaracks co-owner; Kinsey Senkel, KNEB; Tricia Strauch, KNEB; Amber Trenkle, Festival of Hope; Vince Borling, Festival of Hope; Vicki Bjorling, Festival of Hope.

Creatively-decorated bras and even a hunting-themed teddy were sold during an auction last month to raise funds to benefit the Festival of Hope.

On Thursday, organizers of the Save A Rack fundraiser at Backaracks presented a check for $33,111.18 to Vicki and Vince Bjorling, organizers of the Festival of Hope.

The Festival of Hope aids local cancer patients with non-medical expenses.

“You almost have to have an engineering degree to compete at a high level (in the auction),” Vince Bjorling said of the bras that are created for the annual fundraiser that started after a KNEB sales executive adapted the idea after seeing it done at a bar in Wyoming. “The imagination, the tools that go into it and everything else, they are really fun and its very entertaining.”

To date, Vince Bjorling said the Festival of Hope organization has provided nearly $3 million in funds to patients since its formation in 2003.

“Helping people costs a little bit more money than it used to,” he said. “Fuel is more expensive. Utility bills can be more expensive, and making a car payment. (We’re) just helping out because people aren’t making as much money in terms of missing out on hours with their work and things like that. And, a lot of times, their support people, such as their husbands and wives, are taking on fewer hours to help them through a difficult time.

“It has been a big blessing to a lot of people in the valley and the region to help the through some tough times.”

Kendra Feather, of KNEB, said some unique donations came in, such as a donation of $2,500 from Tito’s Vodka, which also donated a basket sold on auction and profits from a drink special. Billy Estes, of BE Farms, donated $600 from the sale of pink pumpkins at his pumpkin patch and a local insurance agent, Brad Hamm, donated $10 for every quote through the end of November.

More than 60 bras were created for the event, including a full-size mermaid created by Regional West Medical Center’s Interventional Radiology program. Feather said bras were decorated by both men and women who have survived cancer battles.

The Festival of Hope, held in June every year, is the main event that provides support for the Festival of Hope organization. The Save A Rack fundraiser is also a regular event, but Bjorling said that events from Poker runs to other activities, help support the Festival of Hope and are appreciated.

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