Toby Keith

Nancy Kaszerman/ZUMAPress.com

Toby Keith has rocked the world of more than a few kids.

A two-day fundraiser presided over by the country music star raised $709,000 for Ally's House, a charity named after the late daughter of one of Keith's bandmates that benefits families of children battling cancer.

About 750 guests packed the Riverwind Casino's Showplace Theatre in Norman, Okla., Friday for a party, concert and auction that preceded the following day's Toby Keith & Friends Celebrity Golf Classic at a nearby country club.

Two partygoers bid $35,000 apiece to have dinner with Keith, and another paid $25,000 for the chance to be in one of the unapologetically patriotic singer's music videos. Tickets and backstage passes to upcoming Keith concerts raked in about $12,000.

The available loot also included memorabilia donated by George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Tom Hanks, Loretta Lynn, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, LeBron James, Andre Agassi, Tony Stewart, Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman and Nolan Ryan.

"I know when you find something where there’s a void and you get this many people working in one direction it happens pretty quick,” Keith told the Oklahoman newspaper. “Once people start seeing that you’re serious about it and you’re running a real event and they start seeing the results of the money...everybody starts getting behind it

Over the past five years, Keith's events have raised more than $2.3 million for Ally's House, which was founded after original Keith bandmate Scott Webb lost his 2-year-old daughter Allison to kidney cancer in 2003.

"I knew we could make a difference with Ally's House, but it really is even bigger than I'd hoped," Keith said. "We've helped a ton of families, and we're proud that we have never had to turn away an Oklahoma family that needs help."

"A year is a long time to juggle that kind of life, and that’s what happens time and again," he added. "Family needs vary from medical and pharmacy bills to rent and utility payments. They also have expenses for lodging, food, health insurance premiums or deductibles, and—right now especially—high fuel costs. Ally's House helps pay different bills based on what that family needs."

 

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