Charity Gala to benefit Cancer Society

Last February a group of Marshalltown-area young adults raised $1,500 in one night for the American Cancer Society.

This year they’ve set the bar higher – they want to collect more.

The group’s second Charity Gala to benefit the ACS is scheduled from 7 to midnight, Feb. 16 at Marshalltown’s Knights of Columbus Hall.

The event is open to the public and admission is a free will offering.

They are hoping last year’s formula of a band, black tie-formal dress, prizes, raffles and plenty of fun will pay off again.

Planner Courtney Degner said more than 100 people attended last year and increasing that number is another goal.

Joining Degner in coordinating the upcoming event is husband Dustin Degner and Stacy Grimes, all of the Garwin-Green Mountain area. Hannah Hedum and Shaun Ratliff, of Marshalltown, round out the team.

The idea to hold the first gala developed while a group of friends watched a football game and it quickly picked up momentum.

“It is a fun story to tell,” Courtney Degner said, as she described how last year’s event came to be.

“Dustin said he wanted a wedding reception every year because ours was so much fun, then we started talking about having a prom for all of our friends,” she said. “And the more we talked … it was decided to donate money to a good cause.”

The cause was the American Cancer Society.

“Everyone has been touched by cancer,” Courtney Degner said. “Dustin’s grandfather passed away from the disease a couple of years ago.”

The Degners and friends also participated in the 2012 Relay for Life – another ACS promotional and fundraising event.

Regardless of last year’s success, Courtney Degner and friends are eagerly looking forward to Feb. 16.

The Denny and Chad Burgess family band of Gilman will provide entertainment supplemented by disc jockey Nate Boleyn.

The planning committee has been busy securing donations for door prizes while promoting the event.

Courtney Degner said she’s noticed more interest in the upcoming event because last year’s was a hit.

But the team are not resting on their laurels.

Colorful, eye-catching posters donated by Marshalltown’s UPS store have been placed in public places coupled with handing out index-sized cards with event details to acquaintances and friends.

“It is our way of giving back while having fun with friends and meeting new people,” she said. “Last year it was a good feeling knowing the $1,500 we raised helped cancer victims.”