Surviving and Giving Back and the Doris Via Foundation benefit event on June 15th

In the first part of this story on the local organization, Surviving and Giving Back, AMR spoke with Becky Downer, a cancer survivor, who along with Didi Simpson of Covington raises money to care for cancer patients and their families. Becky often mentioned the importance the surrounding community has in caring for sick people. She also talked about how it’s not always possible to tell how ill some patients are while they manage to go about daily living.

“I may have a bad day today. I may be emotional today. I may not be feeling so well today. It’s just different things, so lend a helping hand; send a prayer; be supportive.”

Both Becky and Didi have used their experiences as cancer patients to pay it forward, and make it possible for residents of the Highlands to feel cared for as they struggle with the disease. “Boots and Bling”, coming up on June 15th raises funds, and supports two organizations this year.
“This will be an event of the Surviving and Giving back that we have put on. This will be our second annual event, and also we’ll be making a donation to the Doris Via foundation that’s local here in Bath County. The Boots and Bling will take place at the River Uplands Farm in Millboro, and the address is 28527 Mountain Valley Highway. It will be held on Saturday June the fifteenth from seven pm to eleven pm. And it’s an eighteen year and older event.”
I assumed the evening includes dinner and dancing, and somehow dressy and casual at the same time.
“so that’s the reason I said get your boots on, and dust off your boots.”
Music will be provided by DJ Willie Smith, and Santana Hope, and Becky told me a little more.
“She does perform different types of music. I’ve heard her do soft rock. So, we’re excited to help get her name out there and grow herself. We will have silent auctions, fifty-fifty, cash bar. You will buy tickets at the door this year. They will be twenty-five dollars to help cover the expenses of the event, and also the profits will go to the Surviving and Giving Back, and Doris Via foundation.”
She mentioned another key helper in the work of putting on the fundraiser.
“Fern Plecker, she has been a true blessing. I could not do it without her. She has opened up her venue to do the Boots and Bling, the Surviving Giving Back event. Also, she has allowed this year, to have your camper to come on Friday or Saturday for the event, so we’re so excited about different things this year.”

I asked if there is still time to make a gift of items for the Silent Auction. Becky agreed individual donors, or even corporate sponsors, can be as creative or simple as they choose.
“Anything will pretty much go. Of course we will always take monetary donations, but if you want to build a basket for yourself, or your company, or to offset restaurants, or maybe movie tickets, or something else that we do, we could use for a silent auction or door prize, we would absolutely welcome that item.”
The combination of goods and services from local businesses and cheerfully assembled gift baskets, can add to services and care packages the two organizations can provide. What should some one do who wants to make a donation?
“They can get a hold of myself, or Fern Plecker. My number is 540-691-6116. My name again is Becky Downer, and I’ll be glad to pick up the item, before the 15th so we can put that on the list, and advertise it as well.”

For the complete list of items Surviving and Giving back includes in their care packages, and will always accept donations towards, see the first part of this story at

For AMR, . . .

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

Current Weather