State College native and Penn State alumnus Bob Perks died of cancer in 2005, and the cancer foundation his wife, Doreen Perks, founded in his memory a year later is still helping other families cope with the financial struggles that can come along with such a diagnosis.
Since its founding in 2006, the Bob Perks Fund has raised almost $800,000 in support of cancer patients in Blair, Centre, Clearfield and Huntingdon counties who need assistance with travel, utilities, rent and other such expenses that can tap out a family overwhelmed with medical costs and procedures.
The ninth annual Bob Perks Fund Tailgate on Saturday aims to continue those efforts.
Back in 2006, the event raised a mere $6,000 but, this year, organizers hope to top the $175,000 — with a goal of $200,000 — allocated to patients last year, Executive Director Norma Keller said.
“All that comes from the counties we serve,” Keller said. “It’s an amazing event.”
Saturday’s event includes live and silent auctions and, of course, Penn State football.
“It’s definitely a Penn State event, even though the team will be in Indiana,” Keller said.
Attendees will wear their Penn State apparel and cheer on the Nittany Lions on the big screen while raising money for the fund — and taking home something for themselves.
Something new this year is that $500 will be hidden in one of the themed raffle baskets. So one lucky bidder will take home a nice prize in addition to a basket full of loot.
Also new this year, Keller said, is the level of sponsorship, which has grown to include companies beyond Centre County that have contributed about $10,000 in sponsorship funds — and that money helps local families, staying right here in the four-county area.
“We’re working as hard as we can to raise money for the four counties and the families here,” Keller said.
The event begins at 11 a.m. Saturday — an hour before the noon kickoff. So head over to Mountain View Country Club in your Penn State gear for football, tailgate food favorites, complimentary beer and wine, auctions and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping a family struggling with not only cancer, but also the financial burden that can accompany it.