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2020 St. John Drawdown to Benefit ICM’s Lena Wiley

Proceeds from the 2020 St. John Drawdown “A Night at the Races” will be dedicated to assisting one of Oxford’s most selfless volunteers, Interfaith Compassion Ministry Executive Director Lena Wiley.

The event will be held on May 1 at the Oxford Conference Center. Tickets for the event are $125 and it admits two. The drawdown has a grand prize of $10,000.

The drawdown is a reverse raffle with the tickets drawn randomly throughout the night. Once the last five tickets remain, the five ticket holders are asked if they want to share in the profits or continue the drawdown until a decision to share is made between the final ticket holders or the remaining person walks away with it all.

Insurance which may be purchased for an additional $25 dollars allows the purchaser a “second chance” prior to the first hundred draws.

The fundraiser originally began six years ago to benefit the building fund when the St. John’s Evangelist Catholic Church was renovated. After seeing tremendous support from people outside of the church, St. John’s leadership decided that proceeds should benefit all of Lafayette County.

This year’s event will benefit Interfaith Compassion Ministry Director Lena Wiley who is recovering physically and financially from a recent kidney transplant.

Wiley started with ICM in 1999, after many years of running a shoe repair business with her then-husband, Herbert.

The Interfaith Compassion Ministry is a non-denominational, community support agency dedicated to helping residents in need. 

Wiley was named Citizen of the Year in 2003, Volunteer of the Year in 2005 and in 2012 she was presented with the Community Heroes Award during a halftime ceremony at Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium. In 2013 Lena was named one of Mississippi’s Women of Distinction, and the Magnolia Bar Association presented her with the Harriet Tubman Trailblazers Award in 2016.

Lena Wiley holds the Book of Golden Deed Award presented to in 2019 by the Oxford Exchange Club and OPD.
Photo by Alyssa Schnugg

In October of 2019, Lena underwent a kidney transplant at the Methodist UT Medical Center in Memphis after being on dialysis since 2018. She had an advanced stage of chronic kidney disease that had caused a significant amount of deterioration of her kidneys over time.

Her operation was a success but she is facing ongoing medical bills. Her medication costs $500 to $660 and she owes $47,000 to the UT Methodist Medical Center for the transplant. She is currently making monthly payments to the hospital and making great sacrifices to do so.

However, she still is working to find places for the homeless, food for the hungry, heat for the cold and comfort for the forgotten and abandoned.

Music during the event will be provided by The Dantone’s, a popular Memphis party and dance band. Tickets include dinner and an open bar. There will be a silent auction, a wine pull and other events.

“Lena Wiley has shown us what it is to ‘love the least of our brothers and sisters’ which is consistent with the Gospel,” said event chairman Sparky Reardon. “In a spirit of gratitude, we dedicate the 2020 Drawdown ‘A Night at the Races’ to her and to donate proceeds through the Clayton Stevens Fund to assisting with paying her medical expenses. We invite the Oxford-Lafayette-University Community to join us in celebration and fellowship to help this wonderful woman in her need.”

Tickets can be purchased through St. John parishioners or at the church office.


Hottytoddy.com staff report

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