Encouragement reigned in Leesburg on May 6 when nearly 1,000 people participated in the Kiesling Benefit at the Fairfield Local Schools where $40,000 was raised to help the local family that faced a double dose of cancer just after Christmas. Both the mother, Dawna Jo, and her daughter, Lynnette (Kiesling) Shanton, were hit with the diagnoses.
After a threatening reaction to chemo on April 6, Dawna Jo’s friends wanted to help. Twenty-two of them met quickly to organize a benefit to take place four weeks later.
Classmates of Dean and Dawna Jo Kiesling’s children stepped up right away. Friends of Jarrod (Fairfield class of 2000), made flyers and set up a Facebook page and classmates of Lydia (Kiesling) Showell (Fairfield class of 2004) chaired the silent and live auctions and designed and sold T-shirts.
Following the announcement of the event, daily calls reported intentions to attend, plus offers to bring items to sell. The Mane Street Salon in Leesburg became a dropoff for the donations. There were 212 silent auction items and 26 in the live event.
Four 10-player basketball teams divided by graduation years battled away in two games during the meal. Following the live auction, the championship game saluted the “old” players, those who graduated prior to 2001, who emerged the winners.
Caterer Mike Allering, who donated his talent, served 574 people. The committee determined 900-plus were in attendance from Highland and Fayette counties and other Ohio communities. A total of 250 T-shirts were sold.
Dean, Dawna Jo Kiesling and their adult children are “overwhelmed and truly appreciative.” A note from Dean appears on the facebook.com/2motherskiesling Facebook page.
Submitted by Nellda Friend.