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American Cancer Society Fundraiser Nets $31,681

By Staff | Aug 12, 2008

TEAM OF HOPE LEADS THE WAY – Palo Alto County Relay For Life was held Saturday from noon until dusk at Courthouse Square in Emmetsburg. Members of the 2008 Team of Hope lead the Survivor Lap, kicking off the 12th annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. A total of $31,681 was raised. More photos from the day can be found on Page 5 of today’s Reporter. – Lori Hall photo

It was a beautiful day for a worthy cause. The sun was definitely shining upon the 12th Annual Palo Alto County Relay For Life held at Courthouse Square in Emmetsburg on Saturday, Aug. 9. From noon to dusk, members of 14 teams took turns walking around the square to raise awareness and money for research into a cure for a disease that affects so many lives.

A grand total of $31,681 was raised. Proceeds from Relay For Life will support the American Cancer Society’s cancer research, services to patients and their families, education programs and advocacy activities that have made a healthy future possible for so many. This year’s amount is down slightly from the 2007 record high of $36,000-plus.

Following tradition, Relay For Life opened with members of the VFW Post #2295 displaying the flags. Teresa Alesch sang the “National Anthem” and Deb Walsh, Relay For Life emcee, welcomed the participants.

“We have gathered here today with a common goal to make a difference in the fight against cancer,” said Deb Walsh. “This is not an easy task, but with power, courage, time, money, and sacrifice, it is possible.”

The 2008 Team of Hope was then introduced and recognized. Members of the Team of Hope include Bill Thompson, Bob Harris, Nancy Frink, Jean Hyslop, Tom Pico, Eileen Stillman, Amy Vlasman, Marge McAllister, and Cynthia Laubenthal.

“I’ve been a victim of cancer for three years,” began Bill Thompson, 2008 Team of Hope member. “Just recently I came back from Rochester and I had some good reports and some not so good. But we’re moving forward and I’m feeling pretty fair. I urge everybody: early detection is the best thing you can do. My cancer was colon cancer. If you’re 40 years old and have a history of cancer in your family, get it checked. It’ll do you a lot of good.”

Team of Hope member Bob Harris shared a letter that he had written about his cancer experience which began in the fall of 2003. Following several surgeries and hospitalizations, Harris has overcome intestinal cancer.

“The doctors say it might be ten years or never before I’ll be bothered with this ugly little creature called a carcanoid tumor,” wrote Harris. “With faith in God, good doctors, and lots of love from my family and friends, I made it. I am now cancer-free.”

“I just want to thank my awesome team, the Cure Crusaders,” shared Eileen Stillman. “I want to thank you for all your hard work. I love you all.”

Each of the survivors was presented with stained glass butterflies, crafted by Lee Beem. Then, the Team of Hope and other cancer survivors lead the first lap of Relay For Life as part of the Survivor Lap.

Fourteen teams participated in this year’s event. The top two earning teams were JLB Fishing Buddies with $7,010 raised, and Cure Crusaders with $4,779.60 raised. Other teams were: Ayrshire Methodist Church, Prairie States Management, Sassie Lassie Red Hats, Graettinger-Terril Knights, Life is Good, West Bend/Rodman, Catholic Daughters, Family Practice Clinic, EHS Student Council, CASE for the Cure, ZT Crew, and Palo Alto County Hospital Auxiliary.

Throughout the day and throughout the year, many people have worked hard to make Relay For Life a success.

The 2008 Relay For Life Committee was headed up by Event Co-Chairs Jane Brown and Cheryl Harris. Kori Huberty and Kathy Jo Kaul were in charge of Teams, while Sheri Freeman oversaw Luminaries. Suzy Koenck was in charge of Entertainment; Pat Steffen was in charge of Survivors; and Corporate Sponsorship was headed by Michelle Theesfeld, Kari Anderson, and Melanie Rouse. Publicity was overseen by Deb Harris, Joyce Zitterich, and Kim Kerr. Kay Wollum was in charge of Finance. Gifts and Prizes were headed up by Michelle Theesfeld, Kari Anderson, and Suzy Koenck. Charlie Smith was the Committee’s American Cancer Society contact. Music was provided by Nate Hoffman and Mike Saul.

At the conclusion of the evening, volunteers lit candles inside decorated paper sacks along the sidewalks surrounding Courthouse Square as part of the Luminary Ceremony. The luminaries, personalized with names and messages, honored those who have survived cancer and those who have lost the fight to cancer. Everyone took to the sidewalks to participate in the Remembrance Lap in honor of those lives claimed by cancer. A PowerPoint presentation of the day’s activities was also shown. DeeAnn, Robin, and Eric Schmitz were in charge of the presentation.

Corporate sponsors for Relay For Life include: Gold Sponsors – Prairie States Management Co. and Larry and Marge McAllister; Silver Sponsors – Hughes Pharmacy and Palo Alto County Health System; and Bronze Sponsors – Northwest Iowa Compounding, Joyce Funeral Home & Cremation Services; Joyce-Alesch Funeral Home in Graettinger; Max Yield Cooperative; Trewin Electric; Apache Association of PACH Employees; Mansmith Pharmacy; Daybreak Foods, Inc.; West Iowa Bank; Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative; West Bend International; Food Pride; and Siouxland Insulation.

Many individuals provided entertainment throughout the afternoon and evening: Teresa Alesch, Sonny Koenck, Denise Leal, Dee McDonald, Anna Brennan, Tasha Neilson, Alissa Simington, Morgan Mortenson, Katie Kustra, Britt Bortvit, Kayla Joyce, Natalie Ruiz, Kendall Deitering, Sara Harris, and Mary Moser.