Crystal Ball remembers Erin

Miles Citians will have the chance to enjoy good food and dance the night away while helping children with life-threatening illnesses by attending Erin’s Crystal Ball 2017 on Saturday. Attendees are welcome to dress up in formal evening wear or come in more casual attire.

The event will be in the Centra on the Miles Community College campus. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m., and live and silent auctions. Music for the evening will be provided by Miles City’s live band, the Yellowstone Drifters.

The Redneck Grill crew will cook the meat for the dinner and the Black Iron Grill will provide the cheesecake  dessert and side dishes. The menu includes prime rib and shrimp.

The ball is a fundraiser for Erin’s Hope Project, Inc., which provides children who are ill with the chance to experience time outdoors with their loved ones. Tickets cost $50 or $400 for a table of eight. They are available by calling 234-1478 or visiting erinshopeprojectinc.org.

Featured auction items include a log bed, tickets to the Rapid City Stock Show in South Dakota, pottery by Keely Perkins of Miles City, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert tickets, a two-day fly fishing trip, and trips to Chico Hot Springs and Medora, North Dakota.

Caleb Frare of Miles City, a pitcher who plays in the New York Yankees’ organization, also will be donating an item he autographed. Silent auction items include art prints, hand-made frames and a gift basket.

“We will be drawing for our four-wheeler that night as well,” said Vandie Buckingham, secretary of the Erin’s Hope Project Board of Directors.

According to Buckingham, in 2016, eight children and their families participated in amazing outdoor adventures.

“This is a chance for children to be with their loved ones with no doctors, no needles and no chemo,” said Buckingham. “We have a couple of things in progress for 2017, but we’re waiting on getting the kids involved healthy enough to get the projects moving.” 

“To be eligible for nomination for the Erin’s Hope Project, a child has to have a life-threatening illness, live in Montana and be between 5 and 25 years of age,” she explained. “Activities can last anywhere from three or four days up to a week and everything is paid for.”

“If a child wants a two-week adventure, we can budget for that and make it happen. If it happens outdoors, we will help you and your family experience it. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the amazing support of our community,” Buckingham added.

She said that people who can’t attend the ball, but who would still like to donate to the project, may do so by sending contributions to Erin’s Hope Project, Inc. at 2215 Edgewood St., Miles City, MT 59301.

According to the Erin’s Hope Project, Inc. website, the 501(3)c organization was formed in 2011 by Ron and Pam Hurr of Miles City to honor their 9-year-old daughter, Erin. She was born on Dec. 9, 2000 in Miles City and died on March 23, 2010 with her parents by her side. 

For two years Erin battled a cancerous tumor in her brain stem. During her short life, she loved participating in many activities with her family and friends including playing board games and making cookies with her mother, attending school and going camping. She even got to meet Cinderella and Tinkerbell when she and her family took a Make A Wish Trip to Disney World.

Erin’s parents started Erin’s Hope Project, Inc. “to make a difference in someone else’s life … even if it’s only for a day,” according to the website.

“To nominate a child, give us a call, fill out an application form and have a doctor sign a note that states the child has whatever life-threatening illness [is] reported on the form,” said Buckingham. “The Erin’s Hope Project board members will meet, vote and put the event into place, whether it be fishing, hunting, skiing at Big Sky, or even camping at Yellowstone National Park.”

Buckingham said that participating families have shared with the board that their activities are wonderful times of togetherness.

“We’ve even had husbands and wives write back that the time spent together has helped their marriages,” said Buckingham. “It’s a time that families can experience things with their close loved ones without having to worry about hospitals or money.”