A close friendship over a long distance has prompted a Kennewick woman to organize a fundraiser at a Benton City area winery to benefit a cancer-stricken new mother in Washougal.
The dinner and auction is at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Canon de Sol winery, said Josie Michel, whose best friend, Becky Morris, 31, recently was diagnosed with an aggressive form of distant metastatic melanoma.
Morris gave birth to her first child, daughter Amica, four months ago. She first learned of the disease in 2008 when her hairdresser noticed a suspicious spot on her scalp.
The spot was surgically removed and subsequent check-ups looked good, so Morris and her husband Carlton decided to try to have a baby, Michel said.
Michel and her husband, Andy, become fast friends with the Morrises about 10 years ago when the couples lived in Omak.
The ties grew closer when the men got jobs in Washougal, located just east of Vancouver, Wash., and remained close even when the Michel family moved to the Tri-Cities in 2009.
But a visit to see the baby and her friend this fall turned tragic after Michel noticed a lump in Morris' neck.
Instead of finding a plugged milk duct, an exam confirmed the cancer was back, in stage 4 and spreading.
Michel jumped to action, forming the Becky Morris Fundraising Committee, which is sponsoring Wednesday's event.
About 150 tickets at $25 each have been sold, with a limited number available at the door. There will be silent and live auctions featuring large screen TVs, Seahawks' tickets, a hunting bow with arrows, portrait packages and a variety of gift baskets.
Michel said the Morrises can't attend, and that Becky was scheduled to begin a medication regimen this week.
If you go
When: Dinner and auction at 6 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Canon de Sol winery, 46415 E. Badger Road in Benton City.
Why: Donations will help Becky and Carlton Morris pay medical and living expenses. Checks should be payable to Becky Morris.
More information: Ticket purchases can be made by calling Josie Michel at 539-9629, or online donations can go to www.gofundme.
com. Search for "Becky Morris Benefit."
-- John Trumbo: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org