Celebrity Bail Out benefits LLS
EASTON — Typically when someone gets locked in a jail cell, they call family and friends for bail money. Wednesday night, April 19, inside a makeshift jail at The Barn Steakhouse and Sports Bar in Easton, locked-up local celebrities did just that.
The Local Celebrity Bail Out for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society kicked off at 6 p.m., and The Barn was bursting with laughter and heart as the LLS of the Eastern Shore team “It’s a Cure Thing” held the celebrity bailout to fund its nominated Man of the Year, Ryan Snow.
Snow is the project manager for the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in Talbot County and an avid volunteer in his community. This year, he was nominated as the LLS Man of the Year, and he said his life was changed forever when he watched one of his best friends fight for her life due to cancer.
“I was by her side for the entire ride, and thankfully she is now cured,” Snow said. “That is the reason I do this.”
His team, “It’s a Shore Thing,” represents Talbot and Queen Annes counties and annually holds a celebrity bailout to raise funds for its campaign.
Snow said each year for a 10-week period, 10 teams from across the Shore begin a fundraising campaign. The team that raises the most money for LLS will determine who will be the man or woman of the year.
Snow said LLS of the Eastern Shore is funding nine projects in Maryland and 28 projects on the Delmarva Peninsula.
“LLS helps fund advocacy programs and research for blood cancers,” Snow said. “Forty percent of all cancers originate as a blood cancers.”
Each year, a boy and girl of the year are invited to represent the cause throughout the campaign.
This year’s Girl of the Year is Mia Frank, a 3-year-old fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was diagnosed late last year and will enter what is called the maintenance phase after one more cancer treatment.
The Boy of the Year, Wyatt Russum, is 6 years old and was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4. Russum is in the maintenance phase of his treatment.
For the celebrity bailout, 12 local celebrities were locked up and had to raise $2,000 each by 9 p.m. to be set free. Participants were able to begin fundraising for their bail money two weeks prior to the event; however, a majority of the fundraising was done from inside the jail cell.
Participants included Talbot County Sherif f Joe Gamble; Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann; Maryland State Deputy Comptroller Len Foxwell; Amanda Leager from Edward’s Pharmacy and QACTV; realtor Martha Witte Suss; musician Randall Butler, Fergie Ferg; Steve Osche, chief financial officer of Easton Utilities Commission; Parker Welch, Eastern Shore regional director of the Maryland Farm Bureau; John Horner, vice president of operations at Easton Utilities; Matt Teffeau, director of government relations at the Maryland Department of Agriculture; owner of Eat Sprout Ryan Groll; and JoVaughn Pierce.
Mark Potter of 94.3 WINX FM was the master of ceremonies and continued to rally for donations to the cause. Participants were able to solicit the crowd, and use their phones and social media to drum up the funds to get out of “jail.” Throughout the evening, the “inmates” were tapping away vigorously on their phones in hopes of funding their freedom, except Foxwell.
Foxwell said due to his state position as comptroller, he is unable to ask for donations, but said he did not mind being in jail.
“I am enjoying myself immensely,” Foxwell said. “I rarely get a chance to hang out with friends, so this has been great.”
“All of us in some way have been effected by this lifethreatening illness,” Foxwell said. “Any time we have an opportunity to participate in an effort to not only educate but to empower and to find a cure, we should take advantage of it.”
By 7 p.m., Gamble was in the lead, and he jokingly reminded the crowd he is the only one who can help them if they ever need to get out of jail. Gamble and Hofmann schemed together a plan to raise the money, and auctioned off a ride in their police cruisers — with the lights on — to breakfast, followed by a ride to school or work, and a return trip at the end of the day.
Groll decided to get in on the auctioning and offered one week of meal deliveries from Eat Sprout for two people or two weeks of meals for one person.
“We can never raise enough money,” Groll said, “and I am always willing to help Ryan. He is a good friend of mine. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Talbot county.”
Both auctions sold for $500 each to Susie Hayward. Hayward is the government affairs director for the MidShore Board of Realtors and a Talbot County Board of Eduction member. She said she plans to give the ride and meals to her grandson, whom she is raising. Her grandson attends Easton High School and aspires to become a police officer someday, and she said the meals will provide her with two weeks free of cooking.
Gamble remained in the lead most of the evening and received a $100 donation from Kelly Griffith, superintendent of Talbot County Public Schools. Gamble was one of the first participants released. He said cancer has affected his life directly and he is willing to do what he can to help the cause.
“My college roommate, my best friend — he was like a brother to me — died at 48 years old from leukemia,” Gamble said. “And my dad recently passed away from cancer. This is just a great cause. If I can help in some small way, I am on board.”
By 8 p.m., there were eight celebrities left in lockup — Leager, Hofmann, Teffeau, Osche, Foxwell, Groll, Suss and Randall. Gamble’s wife, Mary Gamble, won a drawing of $225 and donated toward Hofmann’s release.
Former state senator and current administrator for the Maryland Department of Agriculture Richard Colburn was among the crowd, and he said planned to donate $50 to keep Teffeau locked up.
Teffeau didn’t mind. He said for him, giving back to these families and helping his community was the right thing to do.
“When Ryan asked me to help out, I said sure thing,” Teffeau said. “Anything I can do to help.”
As the end of the night was drawing near, the remaining participants who were unable to raise the necessary $2,000 had to sing for their freedom. Together, Osche, Teffeau, Groll, Hofmann and Foxwell took the microphones and sang a rendition of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” played by local musician Michael Jamison Jr.
Hofmann said he didn’t mind being behind bars or singing because it was for such a good cause.
Osche was happy to participate in the event and said he was looking forward to being able to help Snow reach his goals.
“It’s a very admirable and daunting goal,” Osche said. “If I can help him make it, that’s awesome.”
Snow’s goal for the evening was to raise $25,000, but due to the nature of the competition, totals of the event will not be released until the gala fundraiser. The gala is set for Saturday, June 10, and will be held at the Hyatt in Cambridge.
“No matter who wins,” Snow said, “everyone wins when cancer loses.”
To donate or to find out more about “It’s a Cure Thing” visit www.mwoy. org/pages/md/mdes17/ itsacurething.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man of the Year nominee Ryan Snow hosted a local celebrity bailout Wednesday night, April 19, at The Barn in Easton to raise money for his campaign. Pictured in lock-up ares Joe Gamble, Gary Hofmann, Mandy Leager, Matt Teffeau, Randall Butler, John Horner, Parker Welch, Ryan Groll, Fergie Ferg, Len Foxwell, Martha Witte Suss and Steve Osche.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man of the Year nominee Ryan Snow hosted a local celebrity bailout Wednesday night, April 19, at The Barn in Easton to raise money for his campaign. To earn their freedom, participants Steve Osche, Matt Teffeau, Ryan Groll, Gary Hofmann and Len Foxwell had to sing a rendition of Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” played by local musician Michael Jamison Jr.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man of the Year nominee Ryan Snow hosted a local celebrity bailout Wednesday night, April 19 at The Barn in Easton to raise money for his campaign. From left are Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble and Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann.