Saturday, June 22nd marked the 3rd Annual Game Day hosted by Debbie Bernstein. Debbie organized the event in memory of her sister Julie Durmaskin who passed away in 2010 at age 50. Game enthusiasts came out for a fun filled afternoon playing board games, cards, Scrabble, and even Wheel of Fortune. The past two years Debbie has welcomed friends, family, and the community to help raise awareness, fundraise for pancreatic cancer research, and enjoy some friendly competition. “My sister, Julie, LOVED to play board games-we did it a lot as kids. She was amazing. When she was playing, it was very difficult for anyone else to win! She especially loved word games and introduced me (and half of the state of Nebraska) to Bananagrams, which is still one of my favorite games” shared Debbie.
Game Day was held in the shaded picnic area of Barrington Park & Recreation Center and people (and dogs!) of all age ranges, from 8 years old to 86 years old, were in attendance. Some of the more serious players played games of Chess, Poker, or Scrabble. If you were looking to break some rules and play for laughs, Wheel of Fortune, Taboo, and Bananagrams were also laid out on the game table for the taking. Everyone enjoyed lunch from Chin Chin and various munchies placed on each picnic table. Local stores and businesses Whole Foods, Toscana, Ralph’s and The Massage Place showed support by donating gift certificates for the raffle. Over 40 people came out for games, lunch, and a fun time with friends.
This year she also wanted to show her unwavering support for her dear friend Don Winett who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier in the year. “He’s a friend and someone I love very much,” said Debbie. He not only attended the fundraiser, but was joined by his aunt, cousin, and friends. In October this year, at the age of 61, Don lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. Following the event Debbie described Don with a fondness, “Don loved to play [board games] too. He and I would play Trivial Pursuit and he was great at it!”
Debbie created a new H.E.L.P. Fund on the Hirshberg website to raise donations and participants made contributions at the event. Funds raised this year surpassed previous years by thousands of dollars! “It was challenging to organize, it took me a couple of months to arrange the gift card and food donors” said Debbie but after her hard work it was a huge success and a great day for everyone. Shortly after the event Debbie was already talking about the 4th annual Julie Durmaskin Memorial Game Day!
Debbie’s fundraising efforts over the past 6 years have resulted in over $28,000 gifted towards pancreatic cancer research! She continues to welcome friends, family, and the community to help raise awareness, fundraise for pancreatic cancer research, and enjoy some friendly competition on game day. In honor of her sister Julie and friend Don, Debbie remains committed to winning the fight against pancreatic cancer never giving up!