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The second Assemble for Adler benefit was a huge success

On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12, almost 500 people attended my grandson Adler’s benefit and silent auction at Elcona Country Club. As I set out to write this article and tried to figure out what to report about Adler’s recent benefit, two or three items quickly came to mind.

First, I thought of what a shame it is that families need to have such benefits at all. The financial impact on cancer patients and their families is unbelievable. Even with health insurance, the personal costs associated with cancer or other major illnesses are staggering. Today, social media allows people in situations similar to Adler’s the chance to share their experiences. The stories and struggles I have read are amazing. People are losing their jobs, their homes or end up filing bankruptcy because of the astonishing costs associated with illness. This comes on top of trying to save a loved one. It is tragic, to say the least.

Second, it seems to me that I know a lot more people today whose lives are affected by cancer than I did 20 years ago. Cancer seems to be much more prevalent today than back then. I didn’t have to think very hard to come up with at least a dozen people I know who either have cancer or a relative of theirs who has it. Five of the people I thought of are family members or work for my company.

Out of curiosity, I Googled “cancer statistics” to see what I could learn to test my theory. In fact, cancer cases were on the rise in years past but seemed to have stabilized now. According to The National Cancer Institute’s current report, the overall cancer death rate in the United States has declined since the early 1990s. Good news, I would say. Here are a couple grim (at least to me) statistics:

In 2015, an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 589,430 people will die from the disease; 46 children (ages 0-19) are diagnosed with cancer and seven children die each day. In 2014 in the United States alone, 15,780 kids were diagnosed with cancer and 1,960 died. Based on data from 2012, approximately 39.6 percent of all men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime.

Cancer is a terrible disease to have to deal with, not only for the individual who has it, but for their families and colleagues as well. Unless you have experienced the effects of cancer, you’ll never realize the impact it has on you or your family physically, emotionally and financially. It is difficult to explain it so let’s hope they find a cure quickly to prevent additional suffering and loss.

The third thing I thought about was how much of a role wine plays in our everyday lifestyle and in events such as benefits and fundraising. Ten or 12 times a year, Tiedemann Wines is asked to donate wines for fundraising events or individual fundraisers. Unfortunately, we can’t support them all but do try and help as we can. What most people don’t realize is that all wine, beer and spirits donations must be approved by the Indiana Excise police. Distributors have to complete a form and submit it for approval before the donation is made.

With those thoughts and comments out of the road, let us get on to recap Adler Bear Carris’ benefit. What a great time everyone had and the benefit was a big success financially. More than $20,000 was raised for Adler’s future needs.

There are so many to thank for this success of this benefit. I can’t list them all and I am sure I would miss some if I tried. There are several people from Adler’s Army who need to be recognized for the many hours of hard work they contributed to organization and putting on the event. First and foremost Adler’s grandma, and my lovely wife, Emilie Tiedemann along with Carol Arbogast, Ray Carris (the other grandpa) Jennifer Burks and Lindsay Feher. Of course there were others but these folks did the majority of the work. Adler’s event wouldn’t have happened without their commitment and contribution of effort.

Then there are the many kind folks and organizations that made donations of the many items that were in the silent auction. I didn’t get involved in this area but do remember hearing the group talk about Thor Industries, Uptown Dining Group, Sam and Faye Davenport, and Kurt Janowsky, to name a few.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the help and assistance from the folks at Elcona Country Club. Greg Shaffer, Tom Roberts and Chef Casey Hochstetler and the entire staff were just marvelous. They hauled tables and chairs, helped us lug and tote items from the parking lot to the ballroom and worried about things as much as we did. They all “rock,” as the saying goes.

From the beginning, a major portion of Adler’s event was to be the auctioning of bottles of wine (in fact, a lot of wine). A good deal of the wine in the auction came from Napa Valley. Through the efforts of our good friends Didier Loustau, Susan Quinn and many other friends and supporters of Adler, more than 100 bottles of wine were donated (all of which Didier made sure were shipped to Elkhart). Some who couldn’t donate wine made cash contributions to Adler’s GoFundMe account. We can’t thank you all enough for your contributions and support. I hope I don’t miss anyone, but here is the list of the Napa folks:

Ian Devereux White, Ryan Hill, Desmond Echavarrie, Stéphane Vivier, Nicholas Keeler, Tom Clark, Jennifer Lamb, Allan Nassau, Relic Winery, Benoit Touquette, Joshua Phelps, Kelly Peterson, Tim Olson, Jack Edwards, Sean Larkin, Bruce Devlin, Steven Kent Wines, Molly Roberts, Joel Hoachuck, Nile Zacherle, Keever Vineyards, Mark Herold, Dalla Valle Wines, White Oak Wines, Page Cellars, Eliza Olander, Faith Ventrello and Sissy Preston.

Additional financial support came from others all over the country, including Terry Morehouse, Kevin Geenty, Herb Krumsick, John Rosenthal, Mike Schoeffler, Chad Reed, Rob Edwards, Brad Williams, James Derby, John Lapehn and Don Pletcher to name the few that I know about. There are others to whom we are also grateful for their financial support.

As I have mentioned before, it was grandpa’s (that would be me) job to put together the wine portion of the silent auction. It was a lot of work and took a lot more time than I figured it would. But it was fun and I did find a couple bottles of wine in my wine cellar that I forgotten I had, as I rummaged through it looking for gems for the auction. We were able to assemble 225 bottles of outstanding wines.

There were more than 18 cases of various types of wine. Each bottle had to be assembled, cataloged, priced and auction sheets made up. First the wine had to be put in our warehouse, then loaded in our truck and hauled to Elcona. Finally, the wine had to be carted to the second floor of the Club House (on a very tiny passenger elevator), unpacked and arranged. This part took a full day to accomplish. Although it was a lot of lifting, toting and hard work for an old guy like me, it was great fun and exciting.

It is difficult to explain the pent up emotion I had just before the event started. I thought of all of the months of hard work by a lot of wonderful people who were committed to making the life of this 5-year-old child with cancer a little better. I also thought of all of the kindness and support of the people and organizations that made donations of money and so many great items for the silent auction.

I remember having made one last walk through the wines, making sure everything was as it should be, then just standing there gazing out over the room wondering about it all. How Adler having cancer had affected our lives. I can tell you now that you never think it will be your family that is going to be affected. There is no way to plan for such things and the emotional impact is tremendous. But, you simply have to accept it (as hard as that can be) and adjust accordingly. And you hope and pray for the best outcome possible. As I stood there in the room with all these thoughts in mind and staring at the door wondering if anyone would show up, I had to quickly come back to reality as people began arriving for the afternoon’s activities.

From the beginning, the theme of the event was focused on activities for kids and families. There were the balloon folks, face painting and, of course, superheroes wandering the room. And a special thank you to the Blackburn family for bringing their race car with Adler’s cartoon picture on it and letting him (with assistance) drive it a little ways in the parking lot.

Adler even had the opportunity to get into the planning. He selected some of the food served throughout the afternoon. Right now, some of his favorite foods are crab cakes, hot dogs (with ketchup) and ice cream. His appetite is affected by the chemo treatments so his favorite food changes from time to time. These items were all on the menu, along with lots of candy and other sweets. I mean, it wouldn’t be a good party without a lot of cookies and candy. I am sure there were parents who couldn’t wait to get their kids away from all that sugar.

Adler had a wonderful time and I am sure enjoyed all of the attention. He wasn’t able to stay for the whole event as he tires quickly, but he was there for a good deal of it. Thanks to all of you who attended and spent a lot of bucks on the items in the auction. You are all wonderful!!

Finally, I would like to thank several more organizations for their support and assistance. Pete McCown and the Elkhart County Community Foundation, and Peter and Suzanne Letherman and their Sweet Pea Foundation both provided some very special assistance, which is greatly appreciated, and I am sure contributed to the success of this benefit. I would like to also thank my friends at Federated Media, for not only supporting and promoting Adler’s benefit, but also for their continued contribution toward building awareness of childhood cancer. I would also like to thank Ross Miller for flying up from his new home base in Florida to be the benefit’s Master of Ceremonies. Lastly, I would like to thank Alex Strati, Mary Nommay-Keil and the rest of the Old National Bank team for all their assistance.

As always, I appreciate your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog posting or other topics, please do so in the comments section below.

Until next week,

For more wine tips and recommendations from Carl Tiedemann, visit Plus, find out how to join the wine club for exclusive local discounts.

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