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Fundraiser for nonprofit that aids caregivers is June 15 in Darien Center

By Billie Owens

Ann and Dave Scherff, of Le Roy, are planning a rare getaway, a respite from caregiving for their disabled adult son who lives with them, and someone else is picking up the tab.

It's actually a nonprofit organization in Manlius, east of Syracuse, that is footing the bill for a two-day stay at a bed-and-breakfast inn. The motto of David's Refuge is "Caring for the Caregiver."

It is a mission with an outreach that is growing in Western New York.

Several Genesee County families like the Scherffs have benefitted from this charity, which provides respite, resources and support to parents and guardians of children with special needs or life-threatening conditions.

The goal is to help them be refreshed, restored and renewed in their caregiving roles.

It's easy to burn out.

"Knowing that someone else cares, that we're not alone, being supported -- has given me hope," Ann says.

The couple has a total of five adult children, three of whom have disabilities, but only one remains at home. Still, they have oversight responsiblity for their two other disabled sons, in addition to Ann's disabled sister-in-law.

When they go away, they arrange for professional nursing staff to care for their live-in son.

They have gone on four two-day hotel stays so far. Families aided by David's Refuge are eligible to go on one per year. Afterward, they are also given a $50 gift certificate to enjoy at a local restaurant.

"Doing something to put yourself first," as Ann says, is uncommon for people like the Scherffs.

Families such as theirs not infrequently incur extraordinary expenses while caring for their loved ones; not everything is covered by insurance or government assistance. So splurging on a weekend away is a luxury too rich to contemplate in a lot of cases, even though the results are beneficial to mind, body and spirit.

The widely recognized conundrum provides impetus for the outreach that David's Refuge does.

"We are currently serving 250 families, 120 of whom are from the Western New York area, including Rochester, Buffalo and surrounding communities," said Christine Corbett, director of philanthropy for David's Refuge.

To help their cause, the organization is hosting a fundraiser in Darien Center on Friday, June 15, at the new and beautiful boutique hotel River Spring Lodge. It is operated by David (AKA "Chef Dave") and Carolyn Hamer.

Called "Fireworks for Friends," the 7 to 10 p.m. event will feature a private fireworks display, live music, two beer or wine tickets, free parking and a silent auction. Culinary delights will be served up by Chef Dave, including hors d' oeuvres to pass as well as stationary appetizers.

The cuisine, which Chef Dave defines as "refined American," is highly praised. Guests gush that it is "incredible, exquisite, amazing and remarkable."

Cost per ticket is $50 for "Friends for Fireworks." River Spring Lodge is located at 1961A Church Road, Darien Center.

The Scherffs plan to attend.

To purchase tickets, visit here, or contact Christine Corbett at (315) 382-4204 or email her at

To find out more about David's Refuge, click here.

Visit the River Spring Lodge online here.

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