Auction organizers want to thank generous donors | ParkRecord.com

Auction organizers want to thank generous donors

Organizers of an online auction that will help Jacob Benedict’s family pay the cost of his oral surgery lab work are overwhelmed at the outpouring of donations. The auction is live at 32auctions.com/asmileforjake. It will run through noon on Dec. 20.

Jacob Benedict, the son of Ecker Hill Middle School custodian Teri Benedict, recently underwent massive oral surgery. He had contracted a serious infection that required jawbone cleaning, tooth extractions and implants.

"The surgery was long and Jake had 24 teeth taken out," Teri Benedict told The Park Record. "He's not eating anything, because he was told not to chew too hard, and since he's autistic and has the mentality of a seven year old, he takes everything to heart. So he's not eating very much."

A few days after Benedict went in for treatment, three women – Ecker Hill language teacher Deb DeKoff, LuAnn's Cupcakes and Bakery owner LuAnn Lukenbach and Park City resident Lisa McGuire – put out a request for donations for an online auction that would help the Benedict family, who has fallen on hard times, pay off the balance.

"Dr. Wade Peers and his staff at of Park City Oral Surgery donated their services for the procedure," Lukenbach said. "So the only thing left for the family to pay for is the cost of the implants and lab work."

The auction, which can be found at 32auctions.com/asmileforjake is open through noon of Dec. 20.

All three said the response from people who wanted to donate has been overwhelming.

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"The generosity of all of these people is amazing," McGuire said. "We had people ask us what we needed, and after they told us what they were donating, they said if it's not enough that they would donate something else."

Donations came from the private sector as well as businesses. Items include headphones, gift cards and hotel stays. (See accompanying list for the donors).

"We have 54 auction items, and some of the items are comprised of a few things we grouped together," McGuire said. "For example, Basin Rec donated fitness packages so we added headphones that were donated by Skullcandy."

Skullcandy donated 12 sets of headphones with a total retail value of $600, McGuire said.

Other donations arrived from Lunatic Fringe, O.P. Rockwell and the Waldorf Astoria Park City.

"We also received help form people outside of the state," DeKoff said. "A woman named Sue O'Sullivan, who lives out east and carves wooden animals contacted us and wanted to donate one of her sculptures."

A friend of O'Sullivan also donated to the cause.

"Her friend also wanted to help and is donating a handmade dream catcher that she mailed to me," Lukenbach said.

As McGuire entered the items onto the website, she came up with names for each package.

"I did that to pique the interest of people so they would look at what we were auctioning off," she said. "We also made sure to offer different price ranges. So everyone can participate."

McGuire's sons also got into the spirit.

"We got a gift basket from Kodiak Cakes that are known for pancakes, and I asked my boys for help," McGuire said. "They named it Flap-tastic Basket."

Other items include a Utah Jazz jersey that was autographed by Carlos Boozer, hair salon treatments and a session at the Park City Gun Club that has been dubbed "A Bang Up Time."

"Jupiter Bowl donated a Golden Ticket, which gives people private bowling lanes for two hours," McGuire said. "We named that 'In My Spare Time.'"

Other items will be added every day throughout the auction, McGuire said.

The combined retail value of the donations is currently at $12,000, and the goal they want to reach is $15,000.

McGuire found 32auctions.com shortly after she contacted DeKoff about helping with the cause.

"I have done online auctions before for my son's school when we lived in California, and I was familiar with what needed to be done," she said. "I pulled up an article that listed of the five best auction websites for smaller fundraising and this one stuck out to me."

In addition to the auction, the Benedict family has set up a crowd-sourcing account at gofundme.com, and American First Credit Union opened a bank account under Jacob's name, McGuire said.

"CrossPoint Presbyterian Church here in Park City is donating 100 percent of their parish's tithings from Christmas Eve directly to the account," she said. "We also were given checks and cash by people as well."

Lukenbach, DeKoff and McGuire said they are humbled by not only the donations, but also for the opportunity to help the Benedict family.

"There are so many people who want to help Jake," Lukenbach said. "We live in such an amazing community and they want to do what they can. All of the donations are adding up to create this amazing life for this young man. And I am appreciative to Teri for allowing us to help her family."

DeKoff agreed.

"I have a sticky note in my classroom that says how a single drop of rain combined with others can create a monsoon," she said. "Working with these ladies, we have created a monsoon."

"Unfortunately the items people will win from this auction are not tax deductible because we're not a 501 (c)3 organization," McGuire said. "But we really appreciate the generosity and help for this wonderful Park City family."

Benedict and her husband Ross, who is currently on disability, are caring for their son.

"Everything he eats has to be soft enough to cut with a spoon," Benedict said. "And he has to eat soft food for three months."

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