Hemmings Foundation annual purse auction

This Louis Vuitton bag will help the Hemmings Foundation raise money for area cancer patients.

ELOY — With a Louis Vuitton handbag, a pair of multigem earrings and dozens of new, designer purses, organizers of the 13th annual John Hemmings Foundation Annual Purse Auction hope to raise about $30,000 to help area cancer patients.

This year marks the 13th annual purse auction fundraiser, which is on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. in the Hermosa Ballroom at Robson Ranch, 5750 W. Robson Blvd.

About 250 people are expected to attend this year’s purse auction and organizers believe it will be the largest in the event’s history, said Mary Ann Hemmings, who started the event 13 years ago as a way of honoring her husband, John Hemmings, a Casa Grande banker who died of cancer.

“Every year it grows,” Hemmings said. “The purse auction started with fewer than 50 people attending and now we’re almost overwhelmed with how many people come out to support us.”

Most of the purses will be auctioned off, but this year, those hoping to take home the Louis Vuitton bag valued at $1,280 or the multigem earrings, donated by Amy’s Jewelry and valued at about $900, will need to buy a raffle ticket to enter a drawing.

Raffle tickets are $20 each or three for $50.

The fundraiser is often billed as a “ladies night out” event. It features dozens of bags, purses and handbags being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Among the purses at the event this year are a Tory Burch crossbody bag, a Patricia Nash floral print and bags by Fossil, Coach, Michael Kors, Dooney & Bourke, Brahmin, Antonio Melani and others.

Hemmings believes her husband would enjoy the fundraiser and like knowing that the foundation raises money for a good cause.

“He was very involved in the community,” she said.

The John Hemmings Foundation is a local nonprofit corporation that raises money for cancer research, treatment and the search for a cure and to assist cancer patients financially.

Last year, funds raised by the organization helped about 20 local cancer patients.

“We raise the money, then we give it away to help people with cancer,” Hemmings said. “The amounts we give might seem small, but they can help with things like co-pays or transportation costs to and from treatments.”

John Hemmings was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 1991 and died in 2004.

Tickets to the event are $45 if purchased in advance online at hemmingsfoundation.org or $50 at the door.

Raffle tickets are available through the foundation’s board members, who include Hemmings, along with Cathy Hemmings, Theresa Hemmings Ratliff, DeAnna Allen, Brandi Clark, Delia Stoor and Linda Kirkpatrick.

Allen will serve as auctioneer at the event.

Cocktails and dinner begin at 5 p.m. on Friday. The auction starts at 6.

For more information visit the organization’s website or Facebook page, found under the name The John Hemmings Foundation, Inc.


Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.