LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — A fundraiser for Lake of the Ozarks real estate agent Dan Ralston raised $104,000 for his family, last weekend.
Ralston, a well-known member of the Lake area realtor community and President of the Bagnell Dam Board of Realtors, discovered this summer he has incurable Stage 4 cancer. After a seizure in July, doctors found a silver-dollar-sized brain tumor. Surgeons tried to remove as much as possible, but tests came back with the worst news. Dan is hoping for another year with his family.
Meanwhile, their insurance coverage is insufficient for the sizable bills, which are quickly piling up. While the family works to obtain Medicare and get into MD Anderson, the Bagnell Dam Association of Realtors quickly put together a fundraiser.
“Dan’s a good dude, he deserves it,” said Justin Farrell, of John Farrell Real Estate. Justin emceed the event and was the auctioneer for the live auction. Money poured in from the community, he said, and hundreds of people came to contribute. Some wrote sky-high bids on items; others just gave money directly. “A bunch just walked in and said ‘Hey we’re not here for the auction, we just want to write a check,’” Justin said. A jersey signed by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the highest-bid item of the night: it went for $3,700. Dan is also an artist, and some of his original art was auctioned off as well.
Dan is in the midst of his first round of radiation and chemo, and he says the fundraiser was an immense encouragement to him and his family. “It was crazy, unbelievable… I had no idea that I had that many people cared about me,” he told LakeExpo. Dan’s brain tumor is a glioblastoma, which is incurable, but treatable. “I’m changing my whole lifestyle,” he said, including a dramatic change in nutrition. After the first round of treatment, Dan hopes to be admitted to either Barnes-Jewish, Mayo, or MD Anderson for clinical trials. “The problem is getting onto early Medicare, because I’m only 54,” he said. That’s where fundraising events like last weekend’s are so key, and the generosity of bidders and contributors all piled up to make a serious sum. “Realtors don’t like to get outbid! So I think that drove the bids up a bit,” Dan said, laughing. He mentioned thanks to the many people who helped make the event happen, including the crew at Shady Gators, which hosted the event, and the Bagnell Dam Board of Realtors, which organized it in a span of just a few weeks.
“I’m super thankful for everyone coming out to support me, and I can’t imagine in a million years that I live in a community like this. It’s just overwhelming. I still can’t believe it.” In typical realtor fashion, Dan added, “This is a great place to live! Spread the word!”