PT’s Coffee hosts benefit

Community extends support PT’s Coffee, located at Barrington Village at 29th Street and Arrowhead Road, will be hosting an art auction with contributions from local artists and businesses from around Topeka to help raise funds for Sara Engelhardt as she battles cancer for the second time. The auction will take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13.

Kate Fechter

PT’s Coffee employees have brought together local artists and businesses from around Topeka in the spirit of love and friendship to help raise funds for Sara Engelhardt as she battles cancer for the second time.

PT’s Coffee, located at Barrington Village at 29th Street and Arrowhead Road, is holding an art auction to raise money to help with her medical bills. The auction will be from Jan. 31 to Feb. 13. Art works include: photography, sculpture, paintings, jewelry and even a knit purse.

In addition to works of art from local artists, there will be services donated by local businesses available to be bid on. Services include: training sessions with a personal trainer, haircuts and more.

Keith Dunbar, Washburn marketing major and a manager at PT’s, helped organize the art auction with kitchen manager Nikki Strong and barista Kelsey Pinon, who studied elementary education at Washburn.

“Sara had already been diagnosed about a year ago with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Dunbar. “So we started taking donations from customers to help her through her treatment. She recently relapsed, so we all thought we’d try to put something together for her again.”

Engelhardt, 24, was originally diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in September 2009 and underwent eight months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation before going into remission in June 2010. Then in December of 2010 she received the call that she had relapsed.

“We came up with the idea of an art auction because we have a lot of friends who are artists, and various people throughout the community have worked pretty closely with PT’s,” said Dunbar.

Strong explained how the art auction is set up. The bidding will take place from Monday Jan. 31 to Sunday Feb. 13. The items for bid will be on display at PT’s and people can come in and bid.

“We will have little cards for people to fill out with their information,” said Strong. “So they can just come to the register, get their card and their bidder ID and they’re good to go. We’ll contact everyone on the 13 and 14 to tell them who won. All the proceeds will go directly to Sara for medical bills.”

In addition to the art auction, all proceeds from PT’s on Feb. 14 will go to Engelhardt as well.

“All the employees are working for free that day,” said Dunbar. “So everything we do through here goes straight to an account set up for Sara.”

Engelhardt is taking some time off from working at PT’s and is also taking a break from working towards a degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing to undergo treatment. She is receiving salvage chemotherapy, which is a high dose regimen, to rid her body of the cancer and will be undergoing a stem cell transplant in February. This will leave her body with very little immunity.

PT’s is like a family says Engelhardt and has been very supportive. The family-like attitude and support shows in the people at PT’s.

“We all care a lot about Sara and want to make things a little bit easier on her,” said Strong. “Basically, everyone wants to help out in whatever way they can.”

She works hard to keep a positive attitude and hopes to finish her degree and travel when this is all over with. Engelhardt says though her first goal is to see her 25th birthday in April.

“I have this motto to take things one day at a time,” said Engelhardt.

Engelhardt says she is overwhelmed by what PT’s and the community is doing for her.

“How many times in your life do you get the chance to see how much people love you,” said Engelhardt. “It’s all so beautiful. I am just so grateful for what everyone is doing.”