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Cancer fundraiser to go forward on July 30

Photo provided Sid and Kellie Loudin will be the guests of honor during the Grand Illusions Saute fundraiser for cancer research. The event is at Undo’s West July 30.

Times Leader Staff Writer

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Grand Illusions Saute has long been a source of valuable funding in the effort to fight cancer, and it will go on with safeguards and restrictions during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The event, dubbed a “saute” instead of a “roast,” will be held at 6 p.m. July 30 at Undo’s West, St. Clairsville and feature as the guests of honor Sid and Kellie Loudin, owners of Rumer Loudin Inc.

Bill Bogges, executive director of Ohio Cancer Research, said they will take safety guidelines into account, but the virus has taken a toll on their efforts.

“It’ll be a small crowd because we’re only allowed to have a certain number of people. We’ll have the patio doors open to get fresh air and people will be separated. We won’t have the normal reception in the hallway,” Bogges said.

“We’re very realistic. It’s been a very, very tough year for Ohio Cancer Research,” he said, adding that about six fundraising events around the state had to be suspended due to the challenging venues.

“As far as the one in Ohio Valley, we’re taking all the necessary precautions of course, but we don’t expect it to be as big or as successful as it normally is, just due to the coronavirus situation, but we hope to do better than 50 percent as much as we’ve done in previous years,” he said.

“A lot of the supporters of the event and the Loudins’ colleagues are supporting the event whether they’re going to be attending live or not. That’s been wonderful. A lot of people really stepped up to help us survive through these tough times by their generosity. The attendance will be about half what it normally is, even if that,” Bogges said. “It’s critical money, so we’re really thankful to everyone in the Valley.”

Bogges said the event usually grosses $120,000 to $150,000. This year, they are hoping for about half of that.

“The battle against cancer is going to be here long after the vaccine arrives for COVID-19, so it’s critical we find every safe way to raise money that we can, so we can continue to fund those projects that are in the pipeline,” Bogges said.

He said the funds raised have been of great help to many cancer researchers. He pointed out one melanoma researcher, Zalfa Abbel-Malek at the University of Cincinnati, who will soon begin clinical trials of a lotion to reverse pre-cancerous skin cell damage.

“That will be a huge development in the skin cancer battle,” he said.

Bogges added that area business owners like the Loudins have been a major force in the fundraising efforts.

“They’re very good people and they’re very generous people, and they own a very successful business,” he said. “They’ve also been past supporters of Ohio Cancer Research.”

“It’s for a good cause,” Kellie Loudin said. “There’s not many people that aren’t affected by cancer in some way, whether it’s a friend or family. Life’s been extended over the years because of the research that’s done by doctors and scientists that are funded by Ohio Cancer Research.”

“(The event) was rescheduled several times because of the COVID-19 and I understand that a lot of nonprofits are hurting for funds because of COVID-19 and those typical fundraisers they could not have. … I feel like it’s extremely important to keep some momentum going. … I hope people will support Ohio Cancer Research.”

For further information or to place an order, call Lisa Hunt at 614-224-1127 or lisa@ohiocancer.org, the website is ohiocancer.org

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