Thief botches Tacoma woman's life-saving auction

Tacoma News TribuneOctober 20, 2011 

Money doesn’t usually matter much to Cindi Hayes, but this time it’s a matter of life or death.

After 13 years battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia, doctors told her in August that a bone marrow transplant was her last chance.

Faced with the procedure and related costs estimated at $600,000, Hayes and her family began saving every penny, seeking donations and collecting items for their big fund raiser – an auction Saturday at the Tacoma Elks Club.

While the 49-year-old mother of two was planning the event and juggling chemotherapy treatments, someone broke into her storage unit and stole the prettily wrapped gift baskets and prizes slated for auction.

“When I first got the phone call, I just collapsed,” Hayes said. “I’ve been working so hard for this and this is my life. Then I stood up and pulled my boot straps on and moved forward.”

The auction will still be held Saturday with items Hayes hadn’t yet put into storage and any donations she can round up before then.

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