Growth of Sammy Event still amazes organizers

July 7, 2004

by Rodney Hart, Herald Whig Staff Writer

It started as a way to honor a young girl and her family members who were
inspired with courage in the face of a fatal illness.

It has become one of Quincy’s best-organized and supported fund-raisers.

The fifth annual Sammy Event will take place October 17 at Westview Golf
Course and the Knights of Columbus. Friends and family of Samantha Otte
gathered this morning at the Redmon & Lee Center to announce this year’s

When Samantha died in March 2000 at age 10 following a liver transplant
made necessary by cystic fibrosis, family and friends decided to create
something positive from their loss. The first event was held in the fall of
2000, and proceeds were used to establish the Samantha Otte Youth
Opportunity Fund with the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area.

“This has gone way beyond Sam now,” said her father, Chuck Otte. “When we first started this, she was simply the inspiration. We hope to continue to
do this because it’s so good to give back to the community.”

Sponsors include First Bankers Trust, Refreshment Services Pepsi,
Cedarbrook Health Group, WGEM and the Quincy Herald-Whig. The event raises funds on behalf of the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area for the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.

“What floors me is we have a core group of about 13 people who help the
family and friends to get this done,” said June Otte, Samantha’s mother.
“Now it’s turned into a tradition. People come out, and they know every
dime they spend goes back into the community.”

This year’s honorary chairman is recently retired Adams County Judge Dennis Cashman, who knew Samantha well and visited her in a St. Louis Hospital when she was battling her illness.

“She was more concerned about me and how I was doing,” Cashman said. “I remember she took me down the hall to get some ice cream.”

“She’s looking down at us knowing all the money is going to a great cause.”

The fund provides access to worthwhile activities for children and insures
accessibility of programs that provide artistic, leadership and humanitarian
opportunities for children.

Since the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund was established with the
Community Foundation, 39 grants totaling $50,930 have been awarded to 17 organizations.

Ben Bumbry of the Redmon & Lee Center said a grant from the fund helped buy new tables and chairs for the center.

“The kids here see that when we take care of them,” Bumbry said. “They are excited about what they have here, and they take pride in what they have here.”

Donations can be made to the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund with the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area at any time. The Community
Foundation is a public charity with IRS 501(c)(3) status, making donations
tax deductible to the extent allowable under law.

“I’m amazed at this group,” said Jill Arnold Blickhan, executive director
of the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area. “Their energy and
enthusiasm just wears me out.”

For more information, contact Blickhan at 222-1237 or

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