Annual Tom Gerhart sports memorabilia auction to make local impact with Sechler Family Cancer Center

4 min read1,535 views and 330 shares Posted March 29, 2019

The Tom Gerhart Sports Memorabilia Auction returns to Hebron Catering Hall soon for its 19th annual fundraiser, with this year featuring an entirely new local dining element.

If You Go…
19th annual Tom Gerhart Sports Memorabilia Auction
Saturday, April 13
Doors open at 5:00pm
Hebron Catering Hall
Register

Traveling through Lebanon County, or anywhere else for that matter, you are bound to find many who have dealt with the personal impact, and loss, of cancer. It’s something Gerhart has realized in his two decades plus of organizing charity auctions in the community.

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“You don’t have to go very far to meet people with those same life experiences that you do,” explains Tom Gerhart, the Lebanon native, former Eagles player, and current local financial advisor who has been a longtime fundraiser for cancer-related efforts, and he has met many people along the way who want to help with his now lifelong philanthropic campaign.

Springing out of a 1998 sports memorabilia auction held in the garage of his brother’s truck center, Gerhart made the American Cancer Society the prime beneficiary of his fundraising auction efforts in the early years.

Lebanon Daily News, April 21, 1998.

But over that time, the global fight against cancer has gotten larger and more complex, and so too has Gerhart’s auction, evolving to support multiple beneficiaries, like the Hershey-Palmyra Sertoma Club, another key partner over the years for Gerhart’s effort. But fundraising scale eventually brought its own operational challenges, driving Tom to formalize his work into a nonprofit, The Anne Fund, named after his mother, whose fight against cancer inspired it all.

See more about The Anne Fund at their website.

For Gerhart, the key insight with The Anne Fund’s formalization has been refocusing on the “why” of his fundraising efforts. Recalling his mom’s fight with cancer reminds Gerhart of why he has funneled something north of a quarter of a million dollars back into the community through the annual sports memorabilia auction, a drive to help other families in similar situations as his family once faced.

Tom’s mom, Anne, inspired his lifelong fundraising efforts through her fight with cancer. (Provided photo)

The American Cancer Society and the Hershey-Palmyra Sertoma Club remain beneficiaries of Tom’s now well-practiced routine putting together the auction, and Gerhart has often helped out individual families fighting cancer when possible, but with his newest partner, the WellSpan Sechler Family Cancer Center, he saw an opportunity to make an even bigger impact locally in the very community that had supported the auction for so many years.

Gerhart’s efforts have been chronicled numerous times over the years by the Daily News, including a couple by Jeff Falk, who wrote this 2005 feature.

Opened in 2016, the WellSpan Sechler Family Cancer Center is a comprehensive cancer center that offers chemotherapy, infusion therapy and radiation treatment. The center features physician offices, a pharmacy, a spiritual care center, and offices for social workers and dietitians. Tom Gerhart and The Anne Fund have designated the center’s massage therapy program as a recipient of the auction’s proceeds for the next five years (in addition to the other recipients listed above). The massage therapy program uses licensed massage therapists who are experience at working with cancer patients.

“From the design of the building to how they treat people, it is pretty awesome in every category,” said Gerhart.

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He and The Anne Fund are also supporting the WellSpan Cancer Patient Help Fund, which provides financial support to patients who need help with travel costs and daily living expenses incurred while fighting cancer.

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So, about that auction. For $25 you will get a real “Taste of Lebanon”, in addition to being able to bid on some amazing items.

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Vendors providing food and drink at the event will include:

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  • The Gin Mill
  • Bruno’s
  • All That & A Bag of Chips
  • A&M Pizza
  • Blue Bird Inn
  • Mt Gretna Hide-A-Way
  • Trattoria Fratelli
  • Quentin Tavern
  • Rotunda Brewing Co
  • Mt Gretna Craft Brewery
  • Royal Oaks Vineyard and Winery
  • Hebron Catering & Events
  • Snitz Creek Brewery

The event’s title sponsor is Klick-Lewis. Tickets are sold at the door, but you can register beforehand at The Anne Fund’s website.

As for the auction itself, there will be at least 100 total items available, with some truly marvelous stuff up for grabs:

  • A Fender “Eagles” Band Guitar, individually numbered and signed by all 7 band members past and present
  • LeBron James Lakers Jersey, signed
  • Tom Brady Jersey, signed
  • Christian Pulisic Jersey, signed
  • Eagles Helmet, signed by Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Ronald Darby, LaGarrette Blount, Alshon Jeffrey, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, Donald Pumphrey, Nelson Agholor, Derek Barnett, Wendel Smallwood, Chris Long, Mack Hollins, Zach Ertz. Michael Kendricks, Fletcher Cox, Torrey Smith, and Malcom Jenkins
  • Saquon Barkley Jersey, signed

“This is much more than a sports auction,” explained Gerhart of the community gathering and philanthropic force that has done much good in the county over the past two decades.

Much has grown and changed with the auction event over its history, but at core it remains a fun and casual fundraiser meant to rally the community together in the fight against cancer. Find more information at The Anne Fund website.

See the full item list below.

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