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Oaklawn gets ready for its first-ever virtual annual benefit auction

MARSHALL – Volunteers and staff at Oaklawn are getting ready for the health-care organization’s upcoming 31st annual Benefit Auction, to be conducted entirely online as a “virtual” event. 

This year’s auction will take place on the internet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4. Already, the search is under way for donations to raise funds for regional COVID-19 relief efforts in keeping with the auction’s theme, “Hope for Heroes.” 

With a goal of $100,000, funds raised will be used to supplement the cost of personal protective equipment, various medical equipment and life-saving technology required for Oaklawn’s staff to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To be eligible to review and bid on donated items, participants may purchase tickets for $25 by logging in at the auction website, When the auction goes “live,” it will be accessible at  

While no live auction is planned, a “silent auction” will begin one week prior to the virtual event. The main virtual event will feature pre-recorded videos and some live coverage, including the announcement of raffle winners and views of items displayed at the Franke Center for the Arts as the silent auction comes to a close.

“The annual auction is much more than Oaklawn’s primary fundraiser. It has been a highly anticipated tradition in our community for many years,” said Jenna Ellis, the health-care organization’s development manager. 

“But the challenges of the pandemic demanded that we re-evaluate this year’s plan, so we decided to look at this as an opportunity to try something new and still fun, and give people a reason to participate regardless of where they might be – even at home,” Ellis said. 

“We promise it will be as fresh and exciting as ever, so we’re excited about this approach and can’t wait to see how people respond,” she added. 

As in past years, hundreds of items are being gathered and catalogued. Specific information about these and other items will be made available online in the weeks leading up to the auction.

Over the years, Oaklawn’s annual auctions have raised more than $2 million to provide patient assistance and purchase clinical equipment for direct patient care. 

Those who wish to donate funds or items are being asked to contact Jenna Ellis, Oaklawn’s development manager, by Feb. 15. She may be reached at (269) 789-7494 or