Masquerade for Maddie and Emma brings in $18,500 to help families

staff reports
People dressed up and celebrated 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' during the benefit for Maddie Yohe and Emma Strait Friday night, while F2 Photography/Patricia Baumgartner Photography captured the action.

More than 200 people danced the night away Friday to help two local girls battling serious illnesses and their families.

The total from Masquerade for Maddie and Emma at Green Grove Gardens stands at $18,500 and donations are still coming in.

The money will be split evenly between the families of Maddie Yohe, 9, of Waynesboro, who has neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer, and Emma Strait, 13, of Greencastle, who was diagnosed with leukemia late last year.

The theme for the evening was "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and it was sponsored by Wishes for Weston (made up of family and friends of Weston Rock, who died of cancer at age 2), Green Grove Gardens and two families who wanted to be listed anonymously.

Emma was unable to attend the gala, but an aunt and cousin represented her family. 

Maddie's dad, Josh Yohe, addressed the crowd with thanks to the community and choked back emotion as he said the family was originally told that most children with his daughter's cancer only have a year to live. They recently got the news that Maddie may very well be the exception to that rule, according to Kayla Burcker, one of the organizers of the masquerade.

Before the event, Maddie was able to pose for pictures with her family and some of the organizers, and enjoyed taking her pick from the elaborate dessert display.

 A dream night 

"Most guests came in masquerade or costume which put the already amazing decorations over the top," according to Burcker. "We had ball gowns, evening gowns, a drag queen, fairies and princesses. The décor was very much in tune with the 'Midsummer Night's Dream' theme. Ribbon chandeliers hung from the ceiling, bird cages, butterflies and fresh flowers picked at Hope Valley Gardens adorned the tables."

Auction items brought in over $6,500 and ranged from a week at Massanutten to dog grooming and from Cirque du Soleil tickets to Skyzone parties.

A last-minute addition to the evening that brought in several hundred dollars was letting party-goers pay $5 to request a song.

The evening also featured hors d'oeuvres, drinks and desserts, professional photography, airbrush tattooing, theme makeup and contests.

Burcker noted everyone was having such a good time it was hard to shut the party down and many in attendance stayed to help clean up.

In an email she wrote: "I cannot even begin to explain how far this event and its purpose reached. People I have not seen in 15 years sent donations as they followed social media posts. Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles responded to a tweet from my cousin and personally sent an autographed ball to be auctioned. Hard-working, blue collar workers sent large sums of money and refused to be recognized. People handed over prizes they had won to be auctioned or given to the girls. Many employees from the local hospitals attended, mostly nurses, which I find to always be the driving force behind these events we plan. No one gets how important it is to provide relief to families battling cancer like a nurse! The people in this community are overwhelmingly good, with good hearts. Everyone wants to help these families be able to spend time with their girls. Everyone is cheering them on and is ready and willing to help in any way. As the country song goes, I truly do 'believe most people are good.'"


Food was sponsored by: John Allison Public House, Leiter's Catering, Park Tavern, Buffalo Wild Wings, Ernst Market, Mrs. Gibble's Restaurant, Sunnyway Foods, Tea Time Tasties, Kline's Grocery and several private donors. 

Drinks were sponsored by Brewery Products of York, Roy-Pitz Brewing Co. and multiple private donors.

F2 Photography and Patricia Baumgartner Photography tag teamed photography duties.