Fight to end cancer goes on in area

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This Thanksgiving, imagine a world without cancer.

There would be no empty chairs around the dinner table.

When prayers of thanks are said and the family members reach out for a hand to grasp, there would be no missing human link in the chain of love.

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There would be no last piece of pie.

Nobody would ask in a hushed voice, “How is (fill in a loved one’s name) doing?” or “How long does he/she have to live?”

No cancer, no worry.

There’s a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. One thing is that “Cancer is a word; not a sentence.”

That’s what they believe in Lyle, Carpenter, St. Ansgar and Stacyville, as well as points near and far.

There’s no retreat, no surrender when fighting cancer. The mission: Help the list of cancer survivors grow.

Step on it in the search for a cure and stomp on it when it rears its ugly cellular head by funding research. “We shall overcome cancer,” pray all.

The final round in this year’s fund-raising battle begins in January with the 2011 Lyle Area Cancer Auction.

And the Carpenter, Iowa, pool tournament. And the Geneva auction. And one at Austin. And 1,000 other fundraisers in the Minnesota Eagles 5th District of Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Last year, a cancer fund-raiser at Geneva topped the $1-million mark in total fund raised for the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon.

Volunteers turned in $118,000 collected at the 2010 Lyle Area Cancer Telethon, bringing the 31-year total of funds raised for cancer research to $1.27-million.

That’s an awful lot of Faye Strouf’s canned pickles, home-made breads, home-baked pies, oil changes and lube jobs, quilts, wood carvings and nearly a 1,000 items which are bid and re-bid until the auctioneer yells “SOLD!”

Let’s not ignore the work of Dennis “Tiny” Johnson, who organized a pool tournament at Carpenter, Iowa, the Harley Davidson motorcycle raffle which has earned $175,000 in 10 years, Joe Rosenberg’s Farm Boy Barbeque, in March, Tracy Schilling’s Halfway To Cancer Bash in June, the Cans For Cancer recycling program, the new country music event organized by Jeff Ramaker and Scott Soderberg at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1216, Lyle American Legion Post No. 105’s verbosity and Jeff and Georgia Ramaker’s country music concert featuring Leland Martin at their farm,

The next Lyle Area Cancer Auction extravaganza will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 14 and 15, 2011, at Lyle American Legion Post No. 105.

A week earlier, Carpenter, Iowa will host its 11th annual pool tournament.

A “Cropping For Cancer” scrapbooking festival also at the Carpenter, Iowa Community Center is threatening to become as successful as the pool tournament.

Russ and Theresa Slowinski are co-chairs of this year’s LACA fund-raising events. “But don’t call them that,” advised Gary Ziegler. “They really don’t go for titles.”

Larry Rieke and his wife, Cindy, will also be involved, as well as Ziegler and his wife, Cindy and dozens of other unsung heroes.

The Harley Davidson motorcycle raffle is offering a 2010 blue Ultra Glide Electric Classic model, that has been on display are area towns.

Tickets are being sold for $20 a pop.

Cheryl Skjeveland won the first bike raffled 10 years ago. Rodney Wogstad won the last in January 2010. I always thought a cancer survivor should win one and take a ride some summer’s day through Lyle, screaming, “I’m cancer free.”

You should attend the fund-raising fun at Lyle in January. Enjoy one of the homemade soups in the Legion Hall dining room, a cold drink in the Legion bar and then make your way to the adjoining Lyle city garage. Take a seat or lean against a wall and watch what happens. Pick up a bidding number and participate.

In January at Lyle, the good guys (and women) wear blue denim shirts with LACA emblazoned on the back.

When cancer survivors say “Thanks” today for their blessings, words like Hormel Institute, Mayo Clinic, U of M, 5th District Eagles, Lyle, Carpenter, Geneva, Austin and Faye Strouf’s pickles tumble from their mouths via their hearts.

They really believe cancer is a word, not a sentence and want to make you a believer, too.