Archived Story

Austin shows community’s dedication to cancer research

Published 10:31am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

By Dr. Zigang Dong, executive director of The Hormel Institute

Research is the only answer to cancer, and the Austin community and surrounding area continue to show their deep understanding of this through their major, inspiring support of the “Paint the Town Pink” initiative for The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research.

The Hormel Institute’s faculty and staff sincerely appreciate the generous donations and many displays of support shown through Austin’s second annual “Paint the Town Pink” citywide initiative earlier this month. To date, these efforts collectively have raised more than $114,000 for our cutting-edge research in Austin focused on ways to prevent and control breast cancer. This is nearly double the amount raised in 2012 by the first “Paint the Town Pink.”

All of these donated funds — 100 percent — directly fund The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research. Please know that my goal as director is to efficiently steward these funds — directed to support breast cancer research — to maximize their effectiveness. Each year, we will provide a public report as to how the funds were used.

This outstanding, annual “pink” support for The Hormel Institute originates from the strong generosity and passion for community service provided by our friends with the Austin Bruins hockey organization. The Austin Bruins and owner Craig Patrick started a “Paint the Rink Pink” fundraiser hockey game in February 2011, leading local groups to expand that popular event into a citywide “Paint the Town Pink” initiative the following year. Each year, the Bruins’ “pink” game has drawn a sellout crowd of 2,000 and has raised more than $100,000 overall in three years for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research, mainly through its post-game auction of players’ specially made jerseys featuring pink.

We also deeply thank the Vision 2020 Waterways Committee volunteers who organized the highly successful first “Plunging for Pink” polar plunge at East Side Lake that attracted about 100 plungers and raised more than $16,000 for breast cancer research. Many thanks also go to organizers Jim Nelson and Duane Smith and everyone else involved with the 11th annual “Fishing for a Cure” ice-fishing contest that raised more than $13,700 this year — another record.

The Hormel Institute also is greatly fortunate for the strong support from our friends at Hormel Foods Corp.’s Austin plant and corporate offices. Combined, they donated more than $12,000 this year through “Paint the Town Pink.”

Our sincere gratitude also goes out to Judy Enright, who led the $8,500 fundraising effort at Riverland Community College; the St. Olaf Church Dining Committee for the 2nd annual pink pancake and Spam breakfast; the 2nd annual “Paint the Packer Gym Pink” Austin High girls basketball game; the first Austin High boys basketball “Hoops for Hope” game; and the numerous other people, businesses and groups who made “Paint the Town Pink” an even more successful, fun and meaningful event.

We also applaud the work by all who served with The Hormel Institute’s staff on the “Paint the Town Pink” steering committee: the Austin Conventions & Visitors Bureau’s Cheryl Corey, Heidi Murray and Eileen Chao; Jeff Baldus of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce; Kim Underwood, director of Austin Parks & Recreation Department; Janet Anderson, City of Austin; Judy Enright, Riverland Community College; Tami Yokiel, of Mayo Clinic Health System — Austin; and volunteers Kathi Finley and Barb Hovey-Nelson. Barb remains an inspiration to all of us as she continues her fight against cancer.

Our deepest thanks again to everyone for your tremendous generosity and spirit. You are helping The Hormel Institute continue to make progress in the fight against breast cancer and other forms of this devastating disease.

Together we share the vision of “Today’s Research, Tomorrow’s Cures.”

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