Eyes for Olivia Quarter Auction will raise funds for blindness research

SALEM – For as little as a quarter and a successful bidding battle, participants in the Eyes for Olivia Quarter Auction this Friday at the Salem Memorial Building can take home a valuable prize.

They can win goodies for themselves and feel good about helping to raise funds to research a cure for retinal blindness.

Kim and Mike Hoffman of Salem have been on the quest for a cure since learning their 8-year-old daughter Olivia suffers from the degenerative retinal disease. They’re members of the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation, a group which was formed by families of children who have the disease.

All the families hold fundraisers for research money and as of the first of this year, the foundation is funding five different research projects. The Hoffmans raised $20,000 on behalf of the foundation last year through various fundraisers and community participation.

This year’s Quarter Auction will be held Friday in the gym at the Salem Memorial Building with the doors opening at 6 p.m. and the auction beginning at 7 p.m. The $5 ticket gets the holder admission and one bidding paddle. More than 65 donated items will be up for bid.

Kim explained that the way the auction works, each item is assigned a quarter value which then corresponds to a set number of quarters required to place a bid, from one quarter to four quarters. When an items comes up for bid, anyone who wants it raises their paddle, which is numbered, and

gives the required number of quarters to the person collecting them. If a person who’s bidding has their number selected, they win. If the number belongs to someone not bidding, a new paddle number is selected until there’s a winner.

She likened it to Bingo, where you pay your money up front for each game, then numbers are selected until someone wins.

“The more items you bid on, the more chances you have of winning something,” she said.

Bidders are asked to bring their own quarters. Tickets can be purchased at the Salem Memorial Building or the Emmanual Lutheran Church office or by contacting Kim by email at kim@crb1.org. The church office can be reached at 330-332-5042. Tickets are limited to 200 people but will be available at the door, also.

Some of the items up for bid include a MonsterM tablet valued at $100, a designer pair of frames and eye exam from Salem Eye Care Center, a pair of earrings from Troll’s Jewelry, two tickets to Kennywood Park, two casino bus trip vouchers in two separate baskets from Anderson Travel, two rounds of golf from Salem Hills, gift certificates from restaurants and other businesses, including Salem Car Wash, the Stone Trough, Edward Jones (Amazon card), Molly Maid, three totes donated by Paula Wonner, a San Francisco 49ers jacket, a Cleveland Indians throw, tickets for the Akron Rubber Ducks, a learn to knit basket with free knitting lessons, Italian dinner baskets, a lottery ticket basket, a girls Disney basket, a boys Hot Wheels basket, hanging baskets and multiple gift cards representing a variety of retailers.

New this year, about half-way through the auction, will be the Heads or Tails raffle for a Kindle HD tablet. A separate $5 fee is required to participate, with participants receiving a wristband. Everyone participating puts their hands either on their head or on their behind, then a coin is flipped. Whoever loses is done, then the remaining participants pick again, heads or tails. The last person standing wins the prize.

Refreshments will be available for purchase, with That’s a Wrap Cafe in Boardman donating pepperoni rolls. Salem Key Club members have volunteered their services, also.

Kim offered thanks to Salem Parks Recreation Supervisor Shane Franks and Parks Director Steve Faber for their help.

Olivia, who’s in the second grade at Buckeye Elementary School, is also a girl scout in Troop 80047 at Salem First Friends Church. The troop members collected items for a Girls Just Wanna Have Fun basket for the auction. Olivia has Leber’s Congenital Amarousis (LCA), which affects only about 3,000 people nationwide. In her case, the specific gene causing her condition, known as CRB1, makes up only 10 percent of that number. There’s no cure and the disease eventually causes blindness.

For more information, visit the websites at www.eyesforolivia.org and www.crb1.org or their Facebook pages.