Signed Books Sought for Auction to Support Bookseller’s Heart Transplant

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Staff at Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, Washington, is once again reaching out to the bookselling community at large in support of their coworker Mimi Applebaum, who requires a heart transplant. This time, they are asking for donations of signed books and other items for an auction to raise money to help cover expenses related to Applebaum’s upcoming surgery. The auction is being planned for April 30, which is both Independent Bookstore Day and Mimi’s birthday.

Applebaum, who currently serves as Inklings’ periodicals associate, has worked at Inklings in numerous roles for the past 11 years. At 21, she was diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome cancer of the liver, a disease that also caused major problems with her heart. Now at age 37, Applebaum’s doctors say she needs a heart transplant to survive.

The auction is part of the store’s plans for Independent Bookstore Day, said Emily Ring, Inklings manager and event coordinator. Ring also serves as vice president of the official fundraising committee for Applebaum, which is managed through the nonprofit National Foundation for Transplants (NFT).

“We are looking to auction off a few different things but we were really hoping that booksellers around the country and possibly even some authors might be interested in donating unique items for us to auction off. One thing we are looking for, in particular, is signed first edition books,” Ring said.

Other possibilities include unique pieces of book-related art or other cool items that are relevant to their book-loving customers. Stores are invited to send along signed stock they already have, said Ring, and are encouraged to ask local or visiting authors to sign and donate books.

Altogether, Applebaum needs to raise $85,000. Though insurance will cover the cost of the transplant, Applebaum and her husband, Ian, will need to cover expenses associated with temporarily relocating 200 miles to be closer to the Oregon Health and Science University’s hospital in Portland, Oregon.

Ring said the fundraising campaign has gone really well since the start of the year, taking in $6,782 at last count. Booksellers at the Inklings cash wrap are asking customers to donate a dollar or more to the NFT in Applebaum’s name, and donation canisters are set up throughout the store.

“In the month of February we raised almost $3,000 here in the store, and then we brought in quite a bit more from other businesses in our shopping center, but I haven’t tallied it all yet,” said Ring. “Another really cool thing is we got a $2,000 matching grant from the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc), which was really big, and a lot of responses from booksellers both in person and through the online campaign.”

“It’s been really neat for me to see the bookselling community get behind someone in need,” Ring added.

Booksellers who would like to donate auction items or books can ship them to Inklings Bookshop, 5629 Summitview Avenue, Yakima, Washington 98908. Questions about the auction should be directed to Ring at

Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation to the National Foundation for Transplants in Applebaum’s name, to be earmarked for her personal fund, may do so online by visiting the Inklings website, the NFT website, or Applebaum’s blog Let’s Shoot the Moon. To donate by mail, checks with “In honor of Mimi Applebaum” written on the memo line can be sent to the NFT Washington Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Avenue, Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119.

To learn more about Applebaum’s story, click here.