Kiester for a Cure gets going Friday

Published 10:23 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

The women who run Kiester for a Cure smile for the camera. From left, they are Linda Willaby, Sheila Chose, Karen Zabel, Rachel Lohberger and Jodi Willaby. -- Julie Seedorf/for the Tribune

The women who run Kiester for a Cure smile for the camera. From left, they are Linda Willaby, Sheila Chose, Karen Zabel, Rachel Lohberger and Jodi Willaby. — Julie Seedorf/for the Tribune

By Julie Seedorf, for the Tribune

KIESTER — What does it take to turn a dream into a reality? It takes passion, determination, hard work and love for a friend whose memory is kept alive because of a dream. Kiester for a Cure was started in 2009 when Rachel Lohberger, Lori Schumann and Linda Willaby put together a bowling fundraiser to raise money for people in the area who had been diagnosed with cancer.

Kiester for a Cure lives on today because of five women — Rachel Lohberger, Linda Willaby, Karen Zabel, Jodi Willaby and Sheila Chose. Their fire and determination in planning this event in 2014 honors Lori Schumann, one of the original Kiester for a Cure planners. In May of 2008 Lori Schumann herself was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in November 2010.

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Breast cancer was the main focus of Kiester for a Cure’s fundraiser when it originated in 2009. The past few years the fundraisers focus has shifted to be inclusive of all cancers.

In 2013, $40,000 was raised by Kiester for a Cure. Funds are first used for people and families and then funds are donated to other area organizations. In the past funds have been given to Interfaith Caregivers, United Hands Hospice, Beads of Courage, Mayo Clinic Health System oncology, radiology and hospice, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Koman, Make-A-Wish Minnesota and local families and individuals.

This year’s goal is $50,000. This is the first year Kiester for a Cure has set a target figure.

Kiester for a Cure is a nonprofit charity. All donations are tax-deductible.

This year, Kiester for a Cure is setting their financial goals higher in the hopes that they can help more people, said Sheila Chose.

“It isn’t just about medical bills, it’s a tank of gas. It’s groceries. Some people have good insurance that pays their entire medical, but you still have to take time off of work, you still have to pull money out of your own pocket to get where you need to go. How do you pay your electric bill when you haven’t worked for three weeks?” she said.

The areas for distributing the funds to those who need help with their situation because of a cancer diagnosis are the United South Central School District, Chose said. The group wants people to know that there is a place on Kiester for a Cure’s website to nominate people who need help. The group wants to include all area residents who need help but many times they don’t hear about them, she said. If they don’t hear about those who need help, they can’t help them.

This year’s theme, “Freezin’ for a Reason,” will be the Kiester for a Cure’s sixth event. Freezin’ for a Reason starts on Friday evening and continues through Saturday. Kids and adults will enjoy old-fashioned fun starting at 6 p.m. Friday with carriage rides, sledding and a bonfire. For those who like to be challenged with the thrill of games there will be darts, cribbage, Texas Hold ’Em and bowling starting at 7 p.m. in places around the city of Kiester.

Events restart at 1 p.m. Saturday. Participants can enjoy bowling, bingo, a bean bag tournament and ending the evening dancing to music provided by Stunt Monkey from KDOG. While all of these events are happening there will also be a silent auction, wine and beer tasting and a meal later in the afternoon on Saturday that is provided by the Farmers Cooperative Association.

The group of women running the event gave a joint statement: “It isn’t about what we are doing, but it is about the city of Kiester to get people to town. Our actions are pure, and we hope people see them as pure. We don’t collect a wage; we are not paid for what we do. It’s all volunteer hours. The fundraiser is getting bigger each year because there is always more need. The need is not going away.”

The website is Financial donations can be mailed to Kiester for a Cure, PO Box 133, Kiester, MN 56051.