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American Legion benefit raises thousands for Godfrey family

By Staff | Jun 6, 2013

Local band Robby Hutto and the Absent Minded performed outside at the benefit for Melissa Godfrey behind the American Legion Post 123 on June 2. Mckenzie Cassidy.

Friends and family of Melissa and Dave Godfrey were overwhelmed with the outpouring of community support at an American Legion fundraiser to benefit her on June 2.

Melissa was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia only a few weeks after the couple was married on April 13. They don’t have health insurance and bills have been piling up fast as Melissa has so far undergone blood and platelet transfusions, two bone marrow treatments and seven days of chemotherapy.

Megan Kuzyk, a friend of Melissa’s who worked with her for nine years at the Lazy Flamingo, helped organize the fundraiser.

“It’s amazing. The community has been great. Everyone has jumped in and helped support this family,” she said.

Even before the doors opened on Sunday, Kuzyk said $1,100 had already been donated for Melissa and staff at the American Legion Post 123 said the event raised a total of $16,231.

Sharon Chamberlain, friend of Melissa and Dave Godfrey, decorated and donated a guitar for guests to sign. Mckenzie Cassidy.

The event started at 2 p.m. with live music, raffles every half hour, all-you-can-eat buffet, and a silent auction. The American Legion Post 123 donated the space, local musicians performed for free and businesses from the island gave items for the silent auction, like an American Legion Camouflage Duffel Bag, manicure and pedicure gift baskets, pieces of art, and signed records.

The post was crowded with people for the benefit and the parking lot was full all afternoon.

Donnetta Beck, another organizer and friend of Melissa’s, said more donated items arrived for the silent auction than originally expected. Some of the tables intended for people to eat on had to be taken back and used to display all of the extra items, she said.

Local rock band Robby Hutto and the Absent Minded opened up on the outdoor stage and Kuzyk said Hutto was instrumental in booking a lot of the other musicians for the event. An acoustic guitar decorated by Sharon Chamberlain was also on stage. Guests could sign the guitar for a small donation and it was later raffled off to benefit Melissa.

All proceeds from the event benefitted Melissa and an account has also been open for her at Sanibel-Captiva Bank under her maiden name, Melissa Barnes, for anyone else in the community wishing to donate. For more information, contact the bank at 472-6100.

Sanibel residents attending the benefit for Melissa Godfrey browse the silent auction items inside the American Legion Post 123. Mckenzie Cassidy.