Despite the current economy, the Carbon-Tamaqua Chapter of the American Cancer Society Telethon Committee and volunteers succeeded inreaching its goal of beating last year's total of about $18,000 during the 17th Annual Chinese Auction, held Sunday at the Lakeside Ballroom in Barnesville.

A grand total of $18,900 was raised this year and over 640 items were auctioned. About 400 people attended and almost every seat in the ballroom was filled, even though a good portion of the ticket buyers were not present.

Some of the prizes included a laptop computer, Nintendo Wii Game System, $250 gift certificate for fuel oil, hand-held GPS Navigator System, Olympus FE-4000 12 Megapixel digital zoom camera, gift certificates and more.

Entertainment was provided for the third-year running by Cody Sassaman of Tamaqua. Joe Krushinsky, telethon chairman and longtime volunteer, was the speaker and ticket caller.

MaryAnn Dulaney, who has been the chairperson for the Chinese auction for five years, was pleased with how everything came together.

"The first year we had this, we raised about $7,000," said Dulaney. "Hundreds of contributors, supporters, old volunteers, and new volunteers gave so much to make this Chinese auction and bake sale one of the best we've ever had. Local organizations and businesses also stepped up to provide us with new volunteers and great prizes."

Dulaney and her daughter, Jessica Kutza, co-chairperson, both stated their appreciation for the dedication the volunteers provide at the auction each year. Dulaney said planning for the auction starts months before the event.

"Some thoughtful businesses and organizations actually contacted me to provide donations or volunteers, such as the Tamaqua Lions LEO Club, Tamaqua Salvation Army Needlebugs Sewing Group, and others," she added.

Tom Harper, American Cancer Society East Region development director, offered his appreciation to the organizers, contributors, and volunteers.

The local Carbon-Tamaqua ACS chapter places a strong emphasis on the organization's mission, which is to eliminate cancer as the major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

TheCarbon-Tamaqua American Cancer Society Relay For Life is scheduled for June 25 and 26. Visit http://www.relayforlife.org/patamaquaarea [2] or call the Carbon-Tamaqua American Cancer Society at (570) 645-2161 to sign up your team or for more information. Tamaqua Relay For Life organizers encourage teams to start fundraising as soon as they can.

All proceeds from the auction will be presented at the 31st Annual ACS Telethon to be held April 10-11 at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe. Itwill be broadcast live on BRC TV-13 and Service Electric TV. The public is encouraged to attend the telethon and live entertainment.