‘Tears of Joy’ PTTP focusses on successes as it kicks off 7th year with $300K goal
Published 10:26 am Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Debbie Retterath had a simple message Tuesday night for anyone battling cancer: You are not alone.
“I learned very quickly that I did not fight alone,” she said as she teared up. “I was surrounded by an amazing group of family and friends.”
Retterath helped Paint the Town Pink organizers kick off the seventh year of the cancer fundraising in the Ray Live Learning Center of The Hormel Institute during Business After Hours Tuesday night.
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As she looked around, she had plenty of proof in adding that loved ones and strangers are lending a hand in fighting cancer.
“There are strangers that don’t know us that are doing what everyone here in this building and in this room are doing, and that’s how we know we are not alone,” said Retterath, this year’s PTTP ambassador.
PTTP started with the Austin Bruins’ Paint the Rink Pink in 2011 with a $23,000 donation.
Last year, PTTP raised just under $272,000 to bring the total raised through PTTP efforts to $826,000, according to Institute Director of Development and Public Relations Gail Dennison.
“That’s phenomenal,” she said.
This year’s goal is to raise $300,000, and many favorite annual events will return from Jan. 14 to Feb. 18 to help reach that goal. The Bruins’ Paint the Rink game will be at 7:05 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Riverside Arena, and Plunging for Pink will be at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 on East Side Lake.
New events have been added too.
PTTP has spread beyond Austin with citywide events held in communities like Adams, Brownsdale, Rose Creek, Grand Meadow, Blooming Prairie and LeRoy. this year, Adams PTTP will add a Pinko Bingo at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Austin Eagles Club.
Another new addition is an extreme hot air balloon flight by Tim Cloyd of TEC Visions. Cloyd, a hot air balloon pilot, plans to donate the money he raises from his annual Extreme Flight to Find a Cure.
YMCA Director Tedd Maxfield, a fellow hot air balloon pilot, met Cloyd and got him interested in PTTP.
“I’m really happy that Tim and The Hormel Institute have connected for this extreme flight,” Maxfield said. “I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Cloyd urged people to follow his flight online, as it will take place sometime before late March, depending on weather. He compared the flight to a walk-a-thon, and he reads names of cancer survivors, fighters, and those who have lost the fight for a donation of $10 or more during the flight, which lasts several hours and can travel more than 100 miles.
Dennison noted cancer has touched everyone in some way.
“I don’t need to ask you if cancer has touched your lives, because it obviously has,” she said.
However, Dennison said cancer mortality deaths have steadily defined, largely due to research. Thanks to support from The Hormel Foundation, Dennison noted The Institute is able to use all PTTP donations for cancer research.
“Because of research, we’re making a difference,” Dennison said.
PTTP donations fund seed grants at The Institute, which scientists then use to seek larger pools of grant funding.
“Really, it’s some of the best research in the world and their good stewards of the money,” Dennison said.
PTTP Director Kathy Finley thanked the community for its support, and she thanked steering committee, members, businesses and individuals that host or support PTTP’s various fundraising events.
“You’d be hard pressed to find another area that is as generous and caring as our area is, so we appreciate all of you very, very much,” Finley said.
While cancer can bring a difficult time for those fighting it and their families, Finley said the community has seen many successes.
“There’s actually been some tears of joy from people that have battled cancer and won, so that is a victory for everybody,” Finley said.
Retterath represents one of those successful battles against cancer.
She spoke of being diagnosed with Cancer with just over 800 days ago and she talked about how she’s a counter. For example, she was in treatments for 428 days.
But Retterath told the crowd she now has a happier number to look forward to: 37, the rough number of days until her son, Kody, and his wife, Brook, make her a grandmother.
Paint the Town Pink 2017 schedule
•Adams Steak Fry, 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 at American Legion Post 146
•Uniquely Yours Canvas, Dots of Love, 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Austin Eagles
•Adams Pink Out, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Jan. 22 at the Adams Legion
•Matchbox Theater, Cinderella, Jan. 27-29 at the Paramount Theatre
•Hotdish Feed & Bean Bag Tournament, 12 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Hoot & Ole’s
•Austin Big Band Dance, 6-8 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the Hormel Historic Home
•Pledging for Pink Radiothon, Feb. 3 on KAUS Radio
•Snowmobile Speed Run, 11 a.m. on Feb. 4 at East Side Lake
•Plunging For Pink Polar Plunge, 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 4 at East Side Lake
•Soup & Bake Sale, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Feb. 8 at St. Mark’s Living
•Community Dinner, 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Primrose
•Paint the Rink Pink: Austin Bruins Hockey Game & Jersey Auction, 7:05 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Riverside Arena
•Fishing for a Cure, 12 p.m. on Feb. 11 at East Side Lake
•Smashing Cancer Demolition Derby, 1 p.m. on Feb. 12 at the Mower County Fairgrounds
•Adams PINKO BINGO (Dinner 5:30, Bingo 7, DJ 9), 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the Austin Eagles Club
•Rose Creek PTTP, Feb. 18 in Rose Creek with activities scheduled all day