by Dennis Dalman
On the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society, fundraisers and researchers are determined that breast cancer and other forms of the disease will be extinct as dinosaurs long before another 100 years rolls around.
That determined hope was apparent Aug. 14 at the kickoff-breakfast for “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Central Minnesota” at the St. Cloud Holiday Inn. The event was hosted by Shelly Teff of Sartell, a volunteer who has known many people suffering from cancer. Teff is a receptionist at Midsota Plastic Surgeons, which is a regional center for breast reconstruction. She is also a long-time volunteer at a Sauk Rapids nursing home, where she has known many people battling cancer. Teff is chair of the annual breast-cancer walk.
Teff told the audience about a woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and who came to Midsota Plastic Surgeons. The woman, completely devastated, began sobbing, terrified of what the diagnosis would mean. Teff gave her a hug and told her that despite the cancer she will always, always be the woman she always was. Teff in no uncertain terms told the woman she and her supporters will fight as hard as they can and “we’re going to win this one!”
That woman, like so many others, did win the battle.
The main reason for the kick-off breakfast was to rally support for the most important annual fundraiser: the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk” slated for 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 at St. Cloud State University. It is one of more than 300 “Making Strides” walks throughout the nation that attracts more than 1 million people to raise funds for the American Cancer Society for raising awareness about breast cancer, helping reduce risks for the disease and providing money for research, information and vital services for cancer sufferers. The money is also used to provide mammograms to any women who should have one.
Many people at the kick-off breakfast are now in the process of forming walking teams or other fundraisers, and many have been part of teams in previous years, such as a team from Array Services of Sartell whose members spoke at the breakfast. Other speakers who rallied support for the cause included co-chair Dee Rengel; Wanda Overland, vice president of St. Cloud State University, which is involved in the annual fundraiser; Dr. Hayley Sheldon of the Center for Diagnostic Imaging; Dr. John Houle of Midsota Plastic Surgeons; and breast-cancer survivors Michelle Blaeser and Deb Bemboom.
Several speakers noted many women nationwide simply do not know all of the options for breast-reconstruction surgery, and that is why it’s so important to raise awareness of the wide spectrum of personalized options available.
Currently, organizers for the Saturday, Oct. 19 “Making Strides Walk” are seeking sponsors for teams, as well as donations before, during and after the walk.
To learn how to volunteer, form a team, become a team member or make a contribution, go to the following website: www.makingstrideswalk.org/stcloudmn.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.