Amanda Ihde family to hold benefit at Lakeside April 18

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"I would like to thank friends, family and the community for everything they have done - from making food, sending gift cards and money for gas, or just a hand written card with well wishes. It's been very overwhelming to me how wonderful and caring everyone has been," Ihde told The Press. Clockwise from left are Chad, Kaysi, Amanda, and Haleigh Ihde.(Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

When Amanda (Aulwes) Ihde was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in the fall of 2014, the community assembled to support Amanda and her family. 

“The whole community, and the surrounding communities, have been overwhelmingly generous,” said Amanda’s mother, Linda Aulwes. “People in general have brought meals in for the family when she was too sick to cook, or sent gift certificates for gas or food.”

After months of chemotherapy treatments, Ihde is close to finishing that grueling stepping stone to recovery – but multiple trips to the University of Iowa in Iowa City have put a financial stumbling block in her young family’s path. A benefit has been organized to fundraise for medication, hospital expenses, gas and other medical costs. 

The benefit will be held on Saturday, April 18, at Lakeside Ballroom in Guttenberg from 3:00 p.m. to midnight. Topp Flight and Krankstate will provide musical entertainment from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight, and refreshments will include turkey and dressing sandwiches, sloppy joes, au gratin potatoes, baked beans, and a sale of homemade baked goods.

Supporters can participate in both a silent and a live auction beginning at 4:00 p.m. (not 6:00 p.m. as stated on the poster) featuring a selection of highly unique opportunities. Spectacular experiences include tickets to a Chicago Cubs baseball game, 15 Iowa Cubs skybox tickets including throwing the first pitch of the game and shooting the hotdog gun, and 50-yard line tickets to an Iowa Hawkeye football game with VIP parking, postgame tour, and a meet and greet with coach Kirk Ferentz. 

Raffle prizes include tickets to Des Moines attractions like Adventureland, Blank Park Zoo, and the Science Center of Iowa, as well as two half-hogs, children’s bikes, a Girl Scout cookie basket donated by Troop 6124, and much more. Ticketholders need not be present to win. 

“Many businesses gave items for the benefit or cash,” said Aulwes. “We would like to thank everyone for their generosity.”

Organizers invite all ages to this family-friendly event. Activities for children include a fish pond, face painting, and other games for kids. A photo booth and dry erase board will allow guests both young and old to send well wishes to Ihde.

Three to four weeks after her chemotherapy treatments are complete, Ihde will undergo a double mastectomy – and just one month later, a hysterectomy. “Because we are not sure when the actual surgery will be set, we rented a photo booth and got a dry erase board so that everyone can write a message to her. She will then get a flash drive of everyone who went into the photo booth – so if she isn't able to be there, she will see everyone.” Aulwes explained. 

This is not the first time the Aulwes family has been touched by cancer. Ihde’s 21-year-old brother, Matthew Aulwes, died in 2012 following his own battle with the disease.  

Ihde and her husband, Chad, have two daughters: Kaysi, 12, and Haleigh, 8. “She's a supporter in any of the activities that her two girls are into,” said Aulwes of her daughter. Ihde enjoys attending her daughters’ ball games and four wheeling with them. She shares her love of the outdoors with her children, taking them mushroom hunting, picking wild raspberries, and sharing her knowledge of flowers and plants in the woods.

“Amanda has a big heart, for people and animals,” Aulwes said, explaining the turtle pictured on shirts being sold for the benefit. “Amanda has a passion for turtles. If there is a turtle crossing the street or the highway, she will pull over and help it across the road. She literally cries if she finds one on the road that was run over.” 

In the age-old fable of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise’s determination prevailed in the race. “Never give up,” is the theme for the benefit, and Aulwes explains the connection. “No matter how long it takes a turtle to get where it's going, it never gives up.”

Contact any committee member to purchase raffle tickets or contribute to the benefit (Sandy Dean, Becky Lake at The Guttenberg Press, Rod McLane, Kecia Schultz, Bev Aulwes, or Linda Aulwes at Cornerstone Family Practice). 


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