'Amazing' support for neighbor in need

Susan Petty, whose husband, Mike, has non-treatable cancer, believes some things in life cannot be explained.

She's not talking about her husband's diagnosis, but about the outpouring of generosity residents have shown the Bluffton couple by rallying to raise nearly $50,000 at a benefit and auction to help defray their mounting medical costs.

A Night for Mike, an event held Sept. 16 at Hampton Lake, drew more than 500 people who wanted to show their support of the Pettys.The fundraiser featured a silent and live auction with donated items such as golf lessons, vacations and a signed Carolina Panthers jersey and helmet.

The idea for the event began with six friends and neighbors, organizer Jim Schwartz said, but grew to a committee of a dozen people over more than three months of planning, with another dozen people volunteering to work the event. "We hoped to fill one room," Schwartz said. "We filled three rooms and had people outside on deck chairs."

Mike Petty was general manager of Hilton Head Honda before losing his job late last year.

Susan Petty said among the attendees were people who had known her husband 20 years ago. "The seed was planted in our community of Hampton Lake and blossomed to include so many," she said. "We feel so humbled and blessed and just can't say enough about how caring and genuine this community is."

Susan Petty, who put her real estate career on hold to care for her husband, said the financial and moral support the couple have received is "amazing."