Saturday, July 19, 2003

Art auction helps cancer patients

Family lodging, expenses funded

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - Andrew Smith's death from cancer in 2000 left his family unbroken and inspired to honor him by helping other families.

Today at the Heritage Hill farm south of Lebanon where he grew up, the Smith family will host Andrew's Annual Art Auction to assist families in Greater Cincinnati and New York City who lack the financial resources to stay with their children while they undergo cancer treatments.

The event, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m., is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own art works to offer in the bidding. Activities for adults and children will be available on the farm's grounds, and food and drinks will be provided.

It's a labor of love for Andrew's parents, Stephanie and Bill Smith, who work to raise money to pay for families battling cancer to stay in New York City's Miracle House apartment building, or locally in housing near the University Hospital's Barrett Cancer Treatment Center.

"We found hope at Miracle House," said Bill Smith of his family's stay in the New York during the last stages of Andrew's treatments for cancer. "Being at the Miracle House gave us the inspiration for the mission of the Heritage Hill Foundation. We knew that Andrew would want us to make it possible for cancer patients and their families to afford treatment expenses not covered by insurance," he said. Besides housing in Cincinnati, donations also will help pay for food and transportation for families of patients at the Barrett Center.

Andrew was a 1988 graduate of Kings High School who earned a biology degree from Miami University in Oxford in 1992. His wife, Penny, gave birth to a boy, Evan, now 3 years old, shortly after the 29-year-old died.

Miracle House Executive Director Gilles Mesrobian said the fund-raiser has "made it possible for many families to stay near their children" as they received medical treatment.

If you goThe Andrew's Annual Art Auction at Heritage Hill Farm is open to the public at no charge and begins with registration at 1 p.m., with auctions ending at 6 p.m.

There will also be a quilt raffle, free food and drinks, and swimming.

The farm is at 3341 Columbia Road in Warren County's Union Township.

For more information and directions, call 932-7848 or visit Web site.


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