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Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children's Cancer Hosts Evening Under the Stars
September, 2006 - Issue #23
Air Supply will be entertaining guests at the MHF
Air Supply will be entertaining guests at the MHF's annual gala
Most of us cannot imagine having our child diagnosed with cancer, yet for over 70 families in Santa Clarita, childhood cancer is a daily reality. For these families, and over 80 others in the surrounding valleys, The Michael Hoefflin Foundation has become a source of comfort and hope.

On Saturday, September 9, we can show our support for these families by attending the 13th Annual Evening Under the Stars Gala Dinner & Charity Auction. Along with dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions, this year's event will feature a musical performance by Air Supply.

Last year's auction raised over $500,000. MHF Executive Director Scott Schauer expects that this year's event will draw over 1,200 guests and raise even more. They'll need it; this year alone, eight Santa Clarita families have lost children to cancer. "This makes the work that we are doing more important than ever," says Schauer.

The Michael Hoefflin Foundation was established in 1995 in honor of young Michael, who lost his battle with brain cancer. His parents, Chris and Sue Hoefflin, along with family and friends, pledged to be a positive force in not only funding research, but to provide support to every local family dealing with children's cancer.

The Hoefflins are still extremely active in the foundation. Sue is currently filling in as family outreach coordinator, replacing Lisa Delong, whose own son Jacob was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Jacob is the second of the Delong's two sons to be stricken with leukemia.

Sue explains that, "when you get the diagnosis, everything changes right then. When Michael was diagnosed, I remember calling my own office that very same day and saying that I was not coming back." The need for help is also immediate. A two-income family must suddenly survive on one income; someone has to transport the child to appointments and treatments.

The foundation provides support in whatever areas are needed. From meals, transportation, groceries or gas money to assisting with household bills and payments - they are there to help in any way possible. In addition, the foundation offers support groups and many family fun activities, all at no cost.

"From the moment Lauren was diagnosed and throughout her three-year struggle, the [Michael Hoefflin] foundation has been there," Sandy Holzer
In the words of Sandy Holzer, whose daughter Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 11, "One day you're driving to Starbucks and working on the PTA and the next day you are in a whole different world. That is why the foundation is so important. It makes us see that we are not the only people battling this. From the moment Lauren was diagnosed and throughout her three-year struggle, she's now in remission at 14 years old, the foundation has been there."

For the Holzers, Lauren's illness was a complete shock. "She had never been sick more than a day in her life, other than a common cold," explains Sandy. Lauren went from what seemed like a mild illness to a rapid loss of 20 percent of her body weight. Though doctors initially dismissed it as a potential psychological issue, Sandy was persistent. Eventually, a CT scan showed two brain tumors.

During last year's gala event, Lauren was given an opportunity to go on stage and share her story with guests. In this way, Holzer explains, "guests are able to hear how important this foundation is. They can hear what these children go through and realize that this is something that is in our own valley."

Lindsay Duran, whose 6-year-old daughter Abigail has been battling leukemia for the past two-and-a-half years, understands why the gala is a special night for the kids, too. "Each child is honored for their personal battle. They are given medals and made to feel like they are so special. The foundation has truly been a blessing in our lives."

The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Mann Biomedical Center. Tickets to the gala are available ranging from $150 for individual assigned seating and buffet dinner to $325 for VIP seating. Full tables of 10 are priced at $1,200, $2,000 and $3,000, again based on seating and type of meal (buffet or served).

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To purchase tickets or to receive more information about An Evening Under the Stars or programs offered by the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, call 250-4100 or visit www.mhf.org.
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