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Elvis memorabilia to be sold to help woman through ovarian cancer

About 10 years ago, Penny Hamilton was featured in the Hastings Star Gazette for her very large collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia. Several years ago, she died due to heart-related problems and her husband donated many of the items. That said, there is still quite a collection in the Hamilton's Elvis room at the family home in Hastings.

That collection will now help Hamilton's daughter, Kim Harvey, in her battle against ovarian cancer. More to the point, the Elvis collection will help her pay her bills during her ongoing treatment. Many of the items will be part of a silent auction planned for an Oct. 27 benefit at the T-Bar near Ellsworth.

Harvey was born and raised in Hastings and graduated from Hastings High School. She is now a resident of Red Wing where she lives with two daughters. She works at the Red Wing Shoe Co. and Lutheran Children's Home.

In early June she went to her family doctor with what she thought was ongoing gall bladder problems. Ulcers were a possibility, the doctor told her. When the diagnosis was made after an ultrasound, Harvey was stunned. The test showed a tumor.

She had surgery at the Mayo Clinic on June 19 and the doctor removed a tumor, which was about the size of a grapefruit. The biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

The surgery was certainly a complicated one. In addition to her ovaries, the surgeon removed her gall bladder. Follow-up tests confirmed she had 49 gallstones.

"Listen to your body," Harvey said. "They call this the silent killer."

Harvey is undergoing 18 weekly sessions of chemotherapy, then she will have another evaluation. If the tests are clear, she will return for another check-up in three months.

"They say if I remain cancer free for five years, it is unlikely the cancer will return," said Harvey, who has remained upbeat throughout these past five months.

She has not been able to work, and probably will not be able to return to either job until after Thanksgiving.

That's where her family and friends and the Elvis memorabilia are helping. Her father, Henry, has been very supportive and has stepped in with the donation of some of the Elvis items.

Harvey's aunt Linda Rowan and other family members and friends decided to help her pay her ongoing bills. They will hold a benefit from starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the T-Bar. Cost is $7. The day includes food, meat raffles, drawings, kids' games and the silent auction featuring many of the Elvis items her mother cherished. They include pictures, records, plates, dolls and posters.

The proceeds from the benefits will be designated for Harvey's bills. A fund has been established in her name at Wells Fargo banks.

She admits she is "overwhelmed" at times from what is happening, and is very appreciative to all the support from family and friends and coworkers.