Oregon Wine Experience hosts virtual auctions and introduce 2021 Miracle Kid

MEDFORD, Ore. — Every year, the Asante Foundation hosts the Oregon Wine Experience – a large auction to fundraise for health care in the Rogue Valley.

This year, it’s hosting two auctions online rather than in-person because of COVID-19.

“The Oregon Wine Experience is a vital piece of funding for the new women’s and children’s hospital within a hospital,” said Director of Campaign Operations for the Asante Foundation, Andrea Reeder. She says the new hospital will be on the top two floors of the new pavilion being built on the Asante campus in Medford.

“It will bring all of our women and children’s services together, from labor and delivery, OB emergency department, the NICU, pediatrics and all of that – bringing those to the same location creates amazing efficiencies and outcomes,” she said.

The foundation’s Miracle Kid, Elio James, and his mother, Vanessa Jimenez, are grateful to share their story and show the community how Asante has helped James with his second battle against cancer.

“It’s an honor that I got chosen,” James said.

James was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in 2019.

He beat it, but 5 months later it returned in his lungs.

“Elio goes to chemo every 3 weeks and we get treated at Asante. So he’s on an oral chemo medication, as well, so he takes his oral chemo and then goes and gets an infusion done and that’s where we’re at right now. We’ll keep doing that until his scans come back clear,” said Jimenez.

James and Jimenez are happy that treatment is offered nearby, so they don’t need to drive up to Portland.

“I get to be able to come home and be there with Elio and Enzo [her youngest son] and keep our family dynamic together, you know, we eat our dinner and play games, so it’s really nice and we keep our bond strong,” she said.

Reeder says James is one of the reasons the foundation hosts its event every year.

“He is an amazing, amazing, young man fighting cancer for the second time and he represents the kids that this community supports – he represents the cause of this event.”

If you’d like to check out the auctions, visit theoregonwineexperience.com.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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