Special Events Stories & Photos

February 24 , 2007
Arizona Spur-a-Cure for PH Car Raffle

Arizona Team Helps Spur A Cure for PH!
By the Spur-a-Cure Planning Committee

Mark and Trish Duque

Committee members Mark and Trish Duque sell car raffle tickets in Phoenix.

What is it like to start a new fundraiser from scratch? It seemed like a daunting task for a dedicated group of Pulmonary Hypertension patients, friends and family members who joined forces in the summer of 2006 to determine how they could make a difference and help raise money for important PH research. Out of this passion began our first ever Spur A Cure for PH event which included a unique car raffle, prosperous silent auction and western theme dinner held at the Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse in Carefree, Ariz. on February 24, 2007. Our first-ever event yielded over $38,000 in proceeds for PH research!

What was it like to put on an event like this? We began by gathering to brainstorm possibilities. Once we determined the high-level approach, the committee members began executing to the big picture plans of gaining an automobile dealership to support our car raffle idea and then finding an event location. From these planning sessions, along with consulting with friends and family members with non-profit experience, and the engagement of Debbie Castro and Lauren Thiel at PHA, a project plan was born and committee assignments determined.

Once the plan was in place, the team's most pressing need was to create an event name, select an event date, create a logo, and begin to sell car raffle tickets. We knew we had to sell enough tickets to pay for the car (provided at a discount by a local car dealer) AND raise as much additional money as possible for PH research! We began meeting monthly and created volunteer schedules to sell car raffle tickets at various venues across town including a gourmet grocery store chain, local festivals, and car racing events. We had mixed results. In the end, our most successful sales efforts came from friends and family members, national PHA support, and last-minute event night sales.

What made the car raffle so unique? For the first time to our knowledge, our car raffle allowed the winner to choose one of eleven different makes and models. The raffle offered four cars that the winner won outright, as well as seven other automobiles for 2 or 3-year leases. With our partnership with PHA, we were able to offer car raffle ticket purchases online to people all over the world! This really opened up our sales efforts beyond our Arizona borders! 

Trish and Kathleen Richards

Handing car raffle winner Kathleen Richards (r.) the keys to her new Jeep is Trish Duque (l.), Event Treasurer.

The winner of the car was Kathleen Richards of Phoenix, Ariz. who chose the 2007 Jeep Wrangler. The first 750 ticket purchases were also eligible for a $1,000 cash drawing (won by Alan Hicks of Sun City West, Ariz.!).

The cool desert evening was the perfect backdrop for a casual outdoor western theme dinner with delicious food, friends, and support for PH. Fire pits and heaters kept the attendees warm along with toe-tapping music by a local disc jockey. Dr. Jeremy Feldman, Director of Pulmonary Hypertension Program, St. Joseph Hospital & Medical Center, spoke to the attendees about PH research, upcoming treatments and new hope.

Along with the unique car raffle, the event included a wonderful silent auction with items donated by local and national companies. Some of the unique silent auction items included a signed Motley Crew guitar, a fly fishing trip to Montana, jewelry, gift/wine baskets, airline tickets and lots more!

sunset in AZ

Attendees enjoying the beautiful Arizona sunset at the start of the evening.

What did we learn? We learned that people want to help and support causes that touch those they know and love. We learned people will help, donate, and share their experience and expertise if you ask them. We learned that hard work yields fantastic results.

We look forward to our second annual event! Our fundraising efforts (and steadfast commitment to raise money for PH) are dedicated to Mark Duque, a PH patient and fellow Spur A Cure for PH committee member, who passed away the day after our event. He is our hero and taught us all why this work is so important.

A special note of thanks for Debbie Castro and Lauren Thiel for their help with sales, marketing, communications and grant support. They are terrific partners that helped make our first-time event a smashing success!

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