Fight against cancer
The small community of Blooming Prairie has turned a shade of pink and that color will be further accented as the fight against cancer continues.
The 18th Annual Blooming Prairie Cancer Auctions are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8 under the Big Tent, outside the Cue Company in BP.
More than 300 people are expected for each auction beginning at 7 p.m. Auctioneers will be Galen Peterson, Mark Ditlevson, Justin Krell and Dave Thompson. Paul Tollefson, KellyLaMotte and Matt Braaten will be emcees.
An estimated 100 items are expected to be auctioned each night under the Big Tent.
Anyone who drives by the Field of Flags near the junction of Main Street and Highway 218 will immediately share the goal of finding a cure for cancer. Members of the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group and community volunteers helped post 250 flags on Sunday, Aug. 26.Blooming Prairie has become well known for its many efforts to help families fight the dreaded disease of cancer. In addition to its many donations to the Hormel Institute in Austin and to the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester, the BP Cancer Group has created a BP Cancer Group Community Fund.
The Community Fund provides funds to help the families touched by cancer by distributing gas cards, parking passes for the hospital and help in paying utility bills.
This year’s Paint Blooming Prairie Pink celebration is dedicated in honor of the memory of Philip Milton, a long-time member of the BP Cancer Group.
Philip worked with his wife Jennifer on many BP cancer weekend projects. Milton died on July 15.
The idea of a local effort to do something involving Blooming Prairie with cancer research started with Eunice Coughlin in 2000.
Eunice was 80 at the time and while watching the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester, she decided Blooming Prairie should get involved. That was the beginning of the BP Cancer Group.
Eunice and her family put together a bake sale, silent auction and a dance at the BP Servicemen’s Club. The result: $1,700.
Philip and Jennifer became involved the second year of the group’s existence.
Cheri Krejci, current BP Cancer Group treasurer, became involved 14 years ago because of cancer striking her family. Both her mother and father, Bonnie and Donald Sloan, died of cancer. Krejci also was stricken with cancer and now is a cancer survivor. She lost a close school friend at age 43.
“Everyone who is in our group has a reason for being there and that is because their lives were touched by cancer,” said Krejci.
The BP Cancer Group has grown with involved members and its impact on local families and cancer research has been immense.
Just take a look at last year’s Paint Blooming Prairie Pink fundraising results. A check for $70,000 last year was given to the Eagles Telethon. A check for $10,000 from the BP Cancer Group was presented to the Hormel Institute in 2017.
The record BP Cancer Group donation was $73,000 in 2016. “We would like to break that record this year,” said a determined Cheri Krejci. Over a 17-year span, the BP Cancer Group has donated $713,000 to Eagle Cancer Telethons in Rochester. A community fund was created by the Cancer group a few years ago, “thanks to our generous people,” Krejci explained.
The week’s activities began with the town turning pink because of the 250 flags waving in the breeze and because of other sights of pink on trees, on business doors and on street signs.
Blooming Prairie Blossom football players wore pink warm-up jerseys prior to action at home against Southland. The Blossoms won the game, 40-14. Blossom volleyball team members will wear pink at Thursday’s game with Southland.
The first live auction begins at 7 p.m. Friday night under the Big Tent. One hour later at about 8 p.m., the B to Z Hardware Girls will present the earnings they made during a lemonade sale in front of B to Z Hardware on Aug. 24.
All available tables will be set up in the Big Tent, beginning Friday night. “We also want to thank all of our business people who became tent sponsors and helped us totally pay for the tent,” Cheri said. “That’s the first time that has happened,” she added.
Saturday’s activities will be in full swing beginning at 9 a.m. and continuing until 1 p.m. at another tent set up by the Field of Flags.
A Cut for a Cure event promoted by Barb Kraling of The Cutting Edge offers haircuts for $5. Other fun activities include crazy hair, face painting, chair massages, manicures, games and lots of other fun stuff.
“Running Over Cancer” will feature a family walk/run. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk/run starts at 10 a.m.
Family bingo goes from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. under the Big Tent. Lots of prizes will be given to lucky bingo players. Lindsey French will be the caller for the 15 games.
The Stix of Fury drum corps will perform, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The final weekend auction begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Find out more about the BP Cancer Group and check out some of the auction items at the BP Cancer Group website (designed by Aaron Krejci): www.bpcancergroup.org