Blue Sky to host Tay-Sachs benefit

MAKANDA – Blue Sky Vineyard will have food, music and auctions to raise awareness and funds for Tay-Sachs, a genetic neurological disease, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

This will be the fourth year the winery will host the Tay-Sachs Benefit Concert in honor of 4-year-old Elise Rochman. To bring in the funding, they will have music from J.W. Brown, Carlos Alberto, John Boy’s Courage and The Natives. Auction items include a week-long stay in a condo in Fort Myers Beach, Fla., St. Louis Cardinals Tickets and a 14-karat white gold diamond necklace from T.J.’s Fine Jewelry.

Fern Palmer, auction organizer, said there has been tremendous support from businesses and individuals to make a great auction. She said when people see and hear about Elise, they are more than willing to help out.

“It tugs at the heart strings,” Palmer said. “It’s just a terrible, terrible disease.”

Elise’s father, Tim Rochman, said each year the event has become more successful. It made $15,000 the first year, $30,000 the second and $45,000 the third. He said they are taking the economy and decrease of Southern Illinois University Carbondale students, but hopes they will have another successful event.

“We’re still optimistic that we can reach the goal of making what we made last year or, with luck, we can surpass it,” Rochman said.

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