Lucy helps Gregg King with the Auction at Darian's Gift Dinner and Auction. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Cancer is one of the most devastating and debilitating diseases imaginable. The disease does not only affect adults, but also children. Families who have children with cancer must manage the overwhelming stress and fear of losing their child along with tremendous financial burdens. This where Darian’s Gift comes in.

Darian’s Gift, a foundation that provides financial help to families facing pediatric cancer. The foundation held its 10th annual golf tournament and auction recently at Illahe Hills Country Club in Salem. The event raised funds to provide financial assistance, physical acts of service, emotional support, and Moments of Joy (activities that create lasting memories) to families in need.

Organization founders Craig and Abby King know firsthand what a pediatric cancer diagnosis means. They lost their son, Darian, at  6 years old after an 18-month battle with bone cancer. They knew that it was critically important that they walk along families in similar circumstances. In 2010, they founded 4Him2Day – Children’s Cancer Resource Foundation, renamed Darian’s Gift in 2016. 

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Darian’s Gift Golf Tournament is the premier fundraiser.  Clear skies, warm weather, and a cool breeze made it a beautiful day for golf. Before dinner, competitors filed in from the course to view their scores. Twenty-eight teams played including a group from Talewind Visuals including  Ian Hagen, Logan Martin, Craig Paulson and Nathan Furumasu.

Following the golf tournament, guests at the dinner and auction could bid on dining options and vacations as well as special artistic creations made by young people with cancer. The auctioneer, Brad Caldwell, sold a piece called “God Gives the Worst Battles to His Best Warriors” by 13-year-old lymphoma patient Emily.  Adam and Annie Willcoxen bought a mixed-media wall hanging by Sara Bailey, mother of Kira, another Darian’s Gift child.

Craig King’s brother, Gregg King, served as the evening’s emcee. He honored their Aunt, Julie VanHouten, a recent cancer survivor, for 10 years of volunteering for the foundation. Three emotional stories were shared as well as a video that featured 14 local citizens who support the nonprofit. Several local businesses were recognized for a decade of support including Mike Murphy of Les Schwab Tire Center, Court Street Christian Church, Great Harvest Bread Co. and Hopkin, Howerton, Kennedy & Clark DMD.

Money raised over the years have supported over 120 families since 2010. This event raised over $67,300 so Darian’s Gift can continue to aid with everything from diapers and gas cards to childcare and home repairs.  

About Darian’s Gift: The Darian’s Gift website  at www.Dariansgift.org provides information for families when they are first diagnosed with pediatric cancer and helpful resources as they go through their journey. The Darian’s Gift website provides links related to the disease, treatments and other organizations, as well as testimonials, news and events, and volunteer opportunities.

Winning bidder Chad Montgomery poses with the 13-year-old artist , Emily.  Emily is one of the 20 current children supported by Darian’s Gift. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Annie and Adam Willcox and artist Kira Bailey attend Darian's Gift Dinner and Auction. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Julie VanHouten receives recognition for 10 years of service to Darian's Gift. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Brad Caldwell auctions off artwork by Emily, a child supported by Darian's Gift. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Gregg King, Celia James and Jeff Glodt attend Darian's Gift Dinner and Auction (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Ric and Laura Linares attend Darian's Gift Dinner and Auction.(Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Team Talewind plays in the Darian's Gift Golf Tournament. Ian Hagen, Logan Martin, Craig Paulson and Nathan Furumasu. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

CORRECTION: The website address for Darian's Gift has been corrected - it is .org, not .com

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event atmlvg@prsalem.com or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Out-and-About-with-Mary-Louise-VanNatta-646148848755085/