EAGLE MOUNTAIN When Mackenzie Casey and Jen Morrison put on a Saturday morning garage and bake sale they mean serious business the kind of seriousness that brings in $2,125 an hour. Hundreds of families across Utah Valley filed through a crowded Eagle Mountain school gymnasium and dropped $8,500 on donated furniture, cloths and toys in support of a local child with a rare illness.
Five-year-old Sadie Huish of Eagle Mountain was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor two months ago that was so advanced, she was immediately qualified as a Make-A-Wish Foundation wish recipient, which exclusively serves children with "life-threatening" medical conditions. She wished for a trip to Disney World, to drive her own kid-sized toy car and to meet Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A day before the big sale, volunteers spent hours preparing heaps of neighborhood donations from vintage big screen TVs to waist-high piles of clothes and stacks of bikes and strollers. "It was like a 12-hour day," one volunteer said about the long Friday while sporting a shirt that read, "For Sadie's Sake."
Not all the items were worn-out, second-hand things like the faux leather couch that somebody had mended with duct-taped and abandoned in the school's entrance. Some were new. Sadie's uncle, Ian Casey, 32, manned a busy table brimming with new items that he brokered to sell for his "beautiful niece." Three hours into the four-hour sale his table alone had racked up around $250, he said.
Kim Conley, owner of the Kaleidoscope Boutique in Provo, also arrived with new merchandise. She cleared a few of her store's clothes racks and topped tables with piles of blouses and stilettos under a homemade sign that suggested negotiation: "Make a great offer for Sadie."
"I'm basically taking what people will offer me," she said. And when asked if she had felt if buyers were taking advantage of the deals $120 shoes being bought at $15 she said no but softened her denial by admitting to wishing for more. "It's never enough, though," she said frankly. "Is it? Not for this cause. But people are being generous with what they have."
Three tables away, just past the father and son lugging a used air hockey table through a swarming isle, Alisa Ottesen's children earnestly sorted through oodles of things on which to spend their hard-earned allowance.
"I told them they could spend all of it here, if they wanted," said Ottesen, who made it clear her suggestions to squander in one place atypical. "But this cause it worth it."
Her elementary-aged son, Jay, went right to work with his $10. He picked up an X-box controller, peeked at its sticker, then looked around and wondered how he was going to spend his next $7.
The little girl inspired the event wasn't able to be there, family said. But a friend, Angie Ferre, made it a special day for the child anyway when she had a young woman, dressed as Disney's Bell princess, arrive via limousine to eat breakfast on her day off from medical treatments, her family said.
"She isn't getting any worse," Rose said. "And she has eight more treatments left. She's had about 36 so far."
The fairy tale didn't end at breakfast, though.
The princess rallied other costumed Disney royalty like Snow White and showed up at the garage sale to stun a long line of giddy young girls waiting to get their picture taken with the fair-faced beauties.
In the sale's final minutes volunteers yelled out steeper discounts with hopes of collecting even dime-size donations to relieve the Huish family's medical bills.
Items not sold will be donated to Savors thrift stores and Deseret Industries. The popularity of the event was perhaps partially due to a story aired on KSL-5 about the girl's serious condition. Since then, followers have encouraged the family through hundreds of posts on their blogsite sadiehuish.blogspot.com from all over of promised prayers."She asked if so and so was praying and others," her father, Zac Huish, wrote in his blog about a conversation he had with his daughter. "I replied that they were. She then asked if Jesus and Heavenly Father were praying for her too. I wasn't sure what to say to that, but confirmed that they were thinking of her."