September 30, 2015 7:00 am '€¢ Andrew Steele [email protected]/*
Albert's Diamond Jewelers will continue its mission to assist multiple sclerosis research and treatment with its MS Auction on Sunday at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.
The 12th annual installment will feature 200 baskets filled with items donated by area businesses, and a live auction of more than 150 items, including sports and entertainment tickets, hotel and restaurant getaways, and watches and jewelry.
The auction begins at 1 p.m., with doors opening for a preview at noon. Admission to the event is free.
For Albert's owners Fred and Josh Halpern, the battle against MS is personal — Fred's wife and Josh's mother Donna was diagnosed with the disease almost 40 years ago.
"It's difficult to see a loved one go through what she's gone through," Josh Halpern said. The auction and other activities to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are aimed at advancing the time when "people like my mother will be able to live very normal lives."
Fred Halpern added that his family has been very fortunate in being able to afford treatments, medications and other supplies that many are not able to afford.
Reflecting on the message conveyed by Pope Francis during his visit to the United States, Halpern said the family's fundraising mission is also motivated by "trying to help people who can't help themselves."
This year's auction will also include a painting — created at the event — by artist Elliot From.
Jalapenos restaurant of Schererville will cater the event, and Albanese Confectionery will supply candy. Other partners include Lithographic Communications and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, which hosts the auction.
And bidders don't have to attend the event — participants can visit alberts15.myab.co to bid via computer, tablet or phone.
Last year, the auction generated more than $181,000. "It's got amazing momentum," Halpern said of the event. "What we're doing, each and every year, this has become our cause."