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There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it, childhood cancer is a heart wrenchingly horrific disease that affects far too many families and lives. The Drolet family knows this fact far too well but is determined to try to lessen the number of people who are forced to know the pain of losing a daughter, sister, grandchild to this disease. And on Saturday night at the Hugs for Harper Dinner and Auction held at the East Beach Conference Center on Kiawah Island, they moved even closer to helping find a cure as they raised nearly $30,000 for the Hugs for Harper Foundation. This money will help MUSC bring a full-time research scientist to Charleston to search for a much-needed cure.

Following a day’s worth of tennis, friends, guests, athletes, doctors, and family gathered to bid at a silent and live auction, listen to the music from two members of the Blue Dogs, and catch up on the day’s activities at the tennis tournament. As the silent auction took place and guests scrambled to try and win the Gucci watch, Tiffany necklace, and sketches by Jamie Drolet, the younger crowd received glitter tattoos from Wonder Works. (During the month of September, stop into Wonder Works for a $5 glitter tattoo and proceeds will be donated to Hugs for Harper!)

As attendees made their way through the food line, they were treated to flank steak with a smoked bacon glaze and grilled okra salsa as well as chicken and scallops in a Dijon mustard and white wine sauce provided by the resort. Guests mingled amongst one another discussing topics from football scores to the upcoming auction, but Harper was never far from anyone’s mind. Her favorite colors were used to distinguish between the silent auction rounds,

Harp beer was served, and credit was given to her for the wonderful weather of the weekend. The reasons why the cause is so important were scattered across the room and served as a constant reminder of the heartbreak caused by childhood cancer.

As the silent auction came to a close, the Drolet’s took to the stage to thank everyone for coming and welcomed Dr. Ray Greenberg, president of MUSC, to the stage. Dr. Greenberg shared his stories of fighting childhood cancer on a daily basis as well as his time with Harper. Dr. Greenberg’s speech led into an emotionally moving video tribute of Harper—reminding everyone of the reason they were there.

The live auction commenced shortly after with guests bidding on jewels from Kiawah Fine Jewelry and Croghan’s Jewel Box, an autographed guitar and VIP tickets to a Darius Rucker show, and a Brett McKee private dinner for eight. But these items seem just like a warm-up to get everyone in the bidding mood prior to the evening’s most anticipated item coming on the blocks—a portrait of Harper’s horse done by Harper herself. As hands flew up around the room, a bidding war broke out as Kevin Townsend duked it out to become the night’s second biggest winner.

The top winner of the night? The Hugs for Harper Foundation, of course. After the spirited auction, guests bid their adieus and began to meander on their ways home—many preparing for the championship game in the tournament held on Sunday.

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