Paws For a Cause team holds dinner, raises Relay For Life funds

Cove Leader-Press 

Mardi Gras came back for just one night during the Cajun Night dinner benefitting the Paws for a Cause Relay for Life team hosted by the Moose Legion at the Copperas Cove Moose Lodge 2029 Saturday night. 
The dinner raised more than $450, with all proceeds going towards the Paws for a Cause team, according to team co-captain Sharon Miles. 
Miles works at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy, where the students are called the puppies of the district. This is where the team name of Paws for a Cause comes from, she said. 
Miles lost her father and sister to cancer and has had several other family members affected by cancer, so she created the team and asked her school for their support. That was approximately four years ago. 
“Relay for Life is in my heart,” Miles said. “I believe in hopefully one day finding a cure for cancer because my sister didn’t make it, Chris [Yarbrough]s’ sister didn’t make it and my dad. It’s just been something really close to my heart for years.”
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., with heart disease being the first, and approximately 39 out of 100 men and 38 out of 100 women will develop cancer in some form during their lifetime. In 2019 alone, more than 1.7 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed, , according to the American Cancer Society. 
The Moose Legion tries to sponsor an event at least once a quarter, or every 90 days, according to member Chris Yarbrough.
Yarbrough’s sister, Audrey Hiller, was diagnosed with cancer suddenly in December 2017. Yarbrough shaved his head in support of her and in January 2018, his fellow Moose Legion members joined him, with 12 members shaving their heads in support at an event that raised $2,800 for Hiller. Hiller passed away that summer. 
Yarbrough said that Miles approached him and asked if the Moose Lodge could do something similar to raise money. 
“We didn’t want to shave our heads this year, so we came up with Cajun night,” Yarbrough said. 
For $8 a plate, guests could eat as much jambalaya, pasta or gumbo and rice as they wanted. The featured drink was a Hurricane. Each guest was given purple, green and gold Mardi Gras bead necklaces. 
All of the food was made by members of the Moose Lodge. There were three different pasta dishes and two types of gumbo including a gluten free option made by Dara Wydler, who used a recipe she adapted from Emeril Lagasse. 
Wydler said this was personal for her, having lost family members to cancer and having several that are survivors, like her sister.  
Guests could also purchase a Luminaria to color and personalize for a donation of $5. These are paper bags with a candle placed inside that are placed around the track in memory, honor or support of someone with cancer, Miles said. 
Miles sold $60 worth of Luminaries at Saturday’s dinner, joining the $404 raised through the dinner itself. 
Not counting the money raised Saturday, the Paws for a Cause team has raised $1,190.98 of their $2,500 goal. In addition to the Cajun dinner, they hold potlucks every two to three weeks at the Mae Stevens campus, bringing in approximately $100 each time. They will also have a booth at the Easter Extravaganza being hosted by the Mae Stevens PTO on Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
The Relay for Life of Lampasas/Copperas Cove event will be held Saturday May 4, from 9 a.m. to midnight at Hanke Stadium at S.C. Lee Junior High. 

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