Blooming Prairie goes pink

Published 10:58 am Thursday, August 30, 2012

A field of 100 pink flags has been planted in Blooming Prairie as part of the community’s “Paint Blooming Prairie Pink” event. Events are being held to raise money and awareness for cancer. -- Photo provided

About 100 pink flags blew in the wind Wednesday night in Blooming Prairie in memory and honor of loved ones who suffered from cancer.

A “Paint Blooming Prairie Pink” theme is leading the hype as the town gears up for the annual Blooming Prairie Cancer Group’s two-night live auction. The event will be held Sept. 7 and 8 at the Big Top Tent on Second Ave. NE. Guests can bid on about 100 items, ranging from electronics and art to autographed goods and hotel stays.

“It’s to bring awareness to cancer, the cancer group and cancer issues,” said Cheri Krejci, a member of the town’s cancer group.

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The Field of Flags Memorial, set on the corner of Highway 218 and Main Street, was one of many events that will lead up to the auction. Across the community, people are finding ways to show their support.

Residences and businesses, Krejci said, are competing to show their spirit by decorating buildings and putting flags on cars. Winners in each category will be chosen next week.

Students from a variety of clubs and athletic teams are doing their part to help out, too. Cross country, student council, cheerleaders, honor society and football are all working to promote the cause.

“They’re all just more than willing to get involved,” Krejci said.

At Friday night’s football game, the Awesome Blossoms’ five seniors will wear pink warmup jerseys. While they won’t be permitted to keep them on during the game itself, those jerseys will be up for bid at the auction.

Other fundraising efforts, like contributing money to pass the pink flamingo lawn decorations on to another yard and T-shirt sales, are continuing until the auction.

And while pink is typically symbolic specifically of breast cancer, the color will be used in this case for cancer in general, because it’s something everyone will be able to recognize, Krejci said.

Eighty-year-old Eustice Coughlin started the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group 12 years ago. She and several of her family members had cancer, which persuaded her to get active raising money to fight the disease. She came up with a couple thousand dollars and sent it to the Eagles Cancer Telethon. The telethon is held annually in Rochester and broadcast on KTTC using largely funds the Eagles raise for cancer research.

Three years ago, a community fund was established to take part of the proceeds and distribute them to local people suffering from cancer.

“We give gas cards to people who are going through treatment who need to drive for [chemotherapy] or radiation treatment,” Krejci said as one example. In other cases it has been a wheelchair ramp installed at a person’s house.

Last year, the event raised $50,000 for the telethon, and has expanded in numerous ways. Krejci said the festivities leading up to the auction are a new addition this year, meant to help stir up excitement about the event before it takes place.

“That’s something we just started this year,” she said. “There’s just so many people in our community that have had cancer.”

The cancer group is made up of eight to 10 members. While they do fundraising events throughout the year, Krejci said the auction is the group’s main project.

Those interested in donating to the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group’s cause can contact Krejci at 507-438-6895.