- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

WAYNESBORO, Va. (AP) - Last summer, Meredith Furr made a new friend, and her “sweet” influence inspired that little girl’s family to do something for 10-year-old Meredith now fighting an aggressive form of cancer.

“My heart sank, honestly, when we learned about this situation,” said Yvonne Brubacher. “I just imagine it’s my daughter. This is just me wanting to help a friend.”

Furr, a fourth-grader at Guy K. Stump Elementary School came home on Christmas Eve after months in the hospital and people lined the streets to welcome her home.

Brubacher, a certified public accountant, hopes the community will once again rally around the little girl to help raise money for the family.

She said her family was able to acquire a 2010 Gibson Les Paul Traditional Pro Exclusive guitar with Sunburst finish and hard-shell case, and they plan to raffle it off at a public drawing in February at E&J;’s Deli Pub, 2800 W. Main St. in Waynesboro.

“The Furr family are great people,” Brubacher said. “We have had Meredith over for play dates, and she is someone you aspire your own child to be like. She is kind, loving, and giving. Our daughter ended up being a better person because of Meredith.”

She said the Furr family lives a modest lifestyle and don’t make a lot of money and are experiencing financial burdens from medical expenses.

Which is why Brubacher is making sure all of the proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly to the Furr family.

“I understand how the money works for fundraisers,” Brubacher said. “Sites like GoFundMe have to make money too, so they take a cut and I want 100 percent of the the money to go to them. I didn’t want the Furrs to get 60 to 70 percent of the money when they live just down the street. That’s silly.”

The guitar, case, amp, strap and fasteners being raffled are valued at approximately $2,000.

Darren Brubacher said the cost of the raffle tickets, however, has proven to be something of a deterrent in raising money for the fundraiser.

“I’ve never done this before,” he said. “I thought I can’t spend my entire life raising money by selling tickets at $10, so I made them $50 for one or $100 for three. Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but it’s a drop in the bucket in the scheme of a child with cancer. I probably screwed that up though and made it too expensive for people.”

Originally Darren Brubacher said he thought it would be easy to appeal to 100 people to purchase three tickets rather than finding 1,000 people who would spend $10.

“Finding those 100 people hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be,” he said. “We wanted to sell $10,000 worth of tickets, but we aren’t going to get there. We have gotten a lot of support from our friends and family, but we are running out of people to draw from.”

To date, the Brubachers have raised between $3,500 and $4,000 selling raffle tickets through their Facebook page, Guitar Raffle for Meredith Furr and E & J’s Deli Pub.

“That is more than we could have done if we had just handed the family the money so it’s all good,” Darren Brubacher said.

The Brubachers’ daughter met Meredith Furr at a summer camp last year and the couple say the friendship between the two has touched all of their lives.

“My daughter meets people all of the time, but Meredith is such a sweetheart,” Darren Brubacher said. “I can’t tell you how really happy she made my daughter. When all of this happened it struck a little too close to home and I felt like, man, we should do something to help them.”

“Friends help each other,” said Yvonne Brubacher.

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Information from: The News Leader, https://www.newsleader.com

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