Amanda Bunch wanted to be a doctor, until she was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 11.

After a difficult year of treatment, she changed her mind, her father said – she wanted to be a nurse. 

Amanda died in 2006 at age 18, before she graduated from high school, before she had a chance to make her dream come true.

Bill and Connie Bunch lost their only child.

Amanda Bunch

But through their generosity, and the kindness of the Spokane Central Lions Club where Bill was a longtime member, many Washington State University students have been able to do what Amanda Bunch couldn’t.

After Amanda died, members of the service club and the Bunches put money toward scholarships for nursing students at the WSU College of Nursing. It was enough to fund two to five scholarships a year, said Ted Schinzel, scholarship chair for the Lions Club.

That number has expanded dramatically in recent years. A fundraising pig roast has collected an additional $18,000 a year that all goes toward scholarships for WSU College of Nursing students. This year the Spokane Central Lions Club expects up to 400 people at the April 7 event, Schinzel said – about double the size it was last year.

Bill Bunch and two nursing students with Old West props at pig roast.
Bill Bunch and WSU College of Nursing students at the Spokane

Between the fundraisers and the initial endowment, Bill Bunch estimates the Lions Club has funded about $86,000 in nursing scholarships for WSU students in the past decade. In 2017, the club formalized its scholarship program with the WSU College of Nursing through a gift to the WSU Foundation.

Bunch admits he’s a Husky fan, having grown up in Seattle. “I support the Cougs only one time a year,” he said — when he gives to the College of Nursing.

In turn, Coug Nurses support the Lions Club by volunteering at events.

Schinzel said the club focuses on WSU College of Nursing students because of Amanda’s dream, but also in recognition of the need for good nurses in the community.

“The nursing students are typically going into their last year, and we know they’re going to finish,” he said. “We know we’re getting a good return on our sponsor dollars.”

Also, he said, “Let’s be honest; a lot of Lion’s Club members are 50-plus. They recognize the need for nurses because they will need nursing at some point.”

-Story by Addy Hatch

IF YOU GO 

  • What: The Spokane Central Lions Club 4th Annual Western Pig Roast
  • When: Sat., April 7, 2018, doors open 5 p.m., dinner is at 7 p.m.
  • Where: El Katif Shriners Event Center, 7217 W. Westbow Blvd., Spokane.
  • Cost: Tickers are $35 each; $250 for a table of 8; or $500 for a corporate table of 8.
  • Contact: John Daschel, jdasch1@yahoo.com, (509) 361-9551, or Craig Powell, doncpowell@comcast.net, (509) 994-2831.