Sumner High School fundraiser helps local coach

Fate has a way of throwing curve balls from time to time – life-threatening illness, house fires and other catastrophes occur daily. For local community member and soccer coach Darren Painter, several of those events collided into an approximate three-year time frame, culminating with a cancer diagnosis last June.

For eight years, the annual Sumner High School ASB Benefit Night Talent Show and Dinner Auction has donated 100 percent of its proceeds to support and uplift a local family in the midst of struggle. Painter is the recipient this year.

Doctors told Painter he has a lethal form of melanoma skin cancer, with about a 10 to 15 percent chance of survival. The family has faced other challenges in the recent past, including a house fire during the 2011 holiday season that nearly destroyed their home. And in 2010, a heart condition caused Painter’s wife Kerry to fight for her life. She survived and now stands by her husband as he fights for his.

The Painter family includes five children. Painter is currently unemployed but he receives supplemental income from his passion; painting. He also spends his free time as a Mt. Rainier Soccer Club girls coach.

“Open your heart, and listen,” Painter said in a press release about the three-night fundraiser, which begins with a dinner auction at 6 p.m., Feb. 19  in the Sumner High School Commons. Local Johnny Cash tribute band, Folsom Prism, will provide the evening’s opening entertainment. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased at Sumner High School.

The event is best described as an annual highlight for the community, with entertainment provided from within the community, and the proceeds of which directly benefit a member of the community, said Folsom Prism front man Corey Wilkins.

“It’s an honor to be invited to play and it’s great to have the opportunity to give back to the community. One of my good friends from high school, Julie Nordyke Moltke, was a past recipient and greatly benefited from this event. It’s special to be a part of something that made a direct contribution to a personal friend, who has since passed away,” Wilkins said.

Two talent shows will also be held at 7 p.m., Feb. 20 and 21 in the Sumner High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $8 per person and may be purchased at the door. Both evenings will include acts performed by students and other community members.