Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10th SMU benefit dance to help Griffin family

Bob and Crystal Griffin and family

WINONA, Minn. — Saint Mary’s University will present the 10th annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance from 8:30 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 20.

The beneficiaries of this year’s formal dance — open to the public — are Bob and Crystal Griffin and their family of Fremont. Crystal works in the Maintenance Department at Saint Mary’s, and the couple co-owns the Lewiston bowling alley, L.A. Lanes. They have three sons, ranging from age 5 to college-aged.

Bob underwent emergency surgery in May because of an infection in his back. Doctors removed two vertebrae and replaced them with titanium, leaving Bob with only a 1 or 2 percent chance of ever walking again. Determined, Bob is undergoing aggressive physical therapy in La Crosse, Wis. Money raised from the benefit dance and silent auction will help the family pay for medical bills and help the family make renovations to their home for handicap accessibility. The family also hopes to purchase a handicap-accessible van.

The benefit dance has become an annual tradition since its start in 2001 by students in honor of Taylor Richmond, son of Saint Mary’s Campus Ministry and Student Activities staff member Nikki Richmond. Taylor has a genetic terminal illness called Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T) and the money from his benefit was used to fulfill Taylor’s dream of going to Disney World. Each year this event benefits someone in the SMU community in need.

The dance, featuring music by the Johnny Holm Band, will be held in the Toner Student Center dining room. Ticket prices are $15 per person or $25 per couple. To purchase tickets or receive more information, contact Jason Richter at (507) 457-1648. Dance tickets will also be available at the door.

To make a donation, send checks — payable to the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance — to Richter at Saint Mary’s University, 700 Terrace Heights No. 45, Winona, MN 55987.

In combination with the dance, a silent auction will be held on campus from 9 a.m. to 3 pm. March 18-19. A variety of homemade goods, gift baskets and specialty items will be on display in the game room, located in the Toner Student Center.