Sunday, August 22, 2004

Benefit helps pay for boy's life-saving surgery



By Natalie Morales
Enquirer staff writer

FLORENCE - Friends, family and neighbors gathered at the Florence Speedway Saturday to raise money for life-saving surgery for a 7-year-old boy.

Austin Beach of Crittenden was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in June. Though the disease is curable, the treatment is expensive and medical insurance won't cover all the bills.

Friends and neighbors pulled together the past couple months to plan the nine-hour benefit.

"We were all pooling our resources, and they got this all together in about a month and a half," said Kevin Beach, Austin's father. "It's unbelievable the things people can do when something happens."

Jim Perkins, Beach's co-worker at Perfection Landscaping and Design in Union, organized the event at the speedway, which offered an inflatable jump attraction for kids, concerts, a mechanical bull and lots of food.

Rides around the track in a race car also were offered. Laura Beach, Austin's mother, said the kids were "having a blast" riding in the car.

About 130 people had entered the benefit as of Saturday evening, she said.

"We're very grateful for everybody who donated everything and for all the people showing up - people we don't even know," Laura Beach said. "It's great!"




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