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home : news : news May 29, 2016

7/25/2013 3:11:00 PM
Relay for Life one for history books
LeRoy and Twyla Mitchell
LeRoy and Twyla Mitchell

Cancer survivors, families and friends from all corners of Chisago County gathered July 19 at the Almelund Threshing Grounds for an annual Relay for Life. Teams of walkers here, representing schools, businesses, several churches and some families, raised $60,000 to support cancer research and services through the American Cancer Society, which first was organized 100 years ago. As the 20 teams set up their tents, tables, chairs, etc. along the walking track, some prepared and sold food, such as hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, watermelon and ice cream. Others hosted games, open for guests of all ages, to be played for small prizes. A few more teams brought arts and crafts to their sites for fundraising, including knit washcloths, decorative garden stakes and jewelry. Event coordinator Barb Marek, leading a committee of 16 members, said the year’s fundraising totals reached numbers from 2012. Jim Krogstad, of North Branch, wore a purple T-shirt at the Relay, to identify with all other cancer survivors who were walking on the grounds.

A retired truck driver, Krogstad had been driving for Consolidated Freightways in 1996 when doctors removed a cancerous tumor from the left side of his neck. His treatment schedule included a series of 35 radiation appointments. Most of his routes kept him driving only in the Twin Cities metro, and for three times each week, he would follow a 10-hour work day with a stop at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Paul for radiation, with each procedure taking less than 15 minutes. In the early 2000s, Krogstad was diagnosed with having skin cancer on his nose. It took four clinic visits to remove layer of skin each time, he said, but eventually he was declared cancer-free once again. His experience with the annual Relay goes back many years, with the Mighty Methodist Miracle Walkers representing his church in North Branch. Krogstad said that he walks for two sisters who lost their fight to cancer, as well as for people who are battling cancer now. “If there’s a chance of helping them out with anything I can, I want to do it,” he said.

Fairview sponsored a Relay team and site, where walkers took turns styling and spray-painting the hair of all youth and the young-at-heart who were brave enough to sit for a temporary makeover. The stylists included Gabrielle Carlson, of Stacy, and Heather Tuhy, of North Branch, sisters who have joined with other family members in the annual county Relays since the loss 13 years ago of their grandfather, Edwin Schaefer, a victim of colon cancer. Tuhy’s hairstyling experience comes from her work at Escape Salon, in Stacy, when she is not at her job for Fairview in its nutrition department. The sisters are joined at the Relays by Aunt Bernie Hoisington, of Almelund, who works as a lymphedema specialist for Fairview and also fought and survived thyroid cancer herself nine years ago. “We have a lot of survivors that we treat (at Fairview),” Hoisington said. “We come out here to help support them.”

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