Clarion University’s participation in the Applebee’s Dining to Donate program earned a record amount this year for the annual April fundraiser which benefits the Clarion Cancer Center and raises awareness for esophageal cancer.
The amount totaled $2,000.
Fundraiser organizer Linda K. Horner explained this year's fundraiser had a bit of a twist as alcohol was included as part of the total. A new record of $670.95 was earned at the restaurant. Applebee's agrees to donate 15 percent of every receipt that is accompanied by the official Dining to Donate flier.
That total was before the organizer received some cash donations totaling $307.05, bringing the total to $978. Horner is part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2326, which agreed to match the donation, bringing the total to $1,956.
At the last membership meeting of AFSCME, the membership voted to contribute an additional $44, raising the grand total to $2,000.
Since Horner began organizing the Dining to Donate fundraiser, Clarion University and the surrounding communities have helped to raise a total $7,807.65 for the cancer center.
The first year's donations contributed to new equipment, but Horner was told this year the money from cash donations will likely go to the Sunshine Fund.
"They use it for people who have trouble meeting their deductible payments," Horner explained.
The fund is named for a past patient the cancer center staff nicknamed Sunshine.
"My main goal was awareness," Horner said of the fundraiser.
Horner's life was affected by esophageal cancer when her husband was diagnosed in 2008.
"It is very deadly," Horner said of this form of cancer.
Her husband survived this aggressive form of cancer, but wanted to raise awareness. They discovered that April is the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month and she decided to bring Dining to Donate the university community during that month.
In addition to the Dining to Donate program, the Horners travel to Harrisburg every year in order to support the resolution Donna Oberlander (R-63) puts forth declaring April as Esophageal Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.