Feisty Fighters looking to raise $50,000 against cancerIt was 1995 when Hastings area resident Bets Thorkelson started noticing how prevalent breast cancer is. Her son was playing hockey that year, and there were four other hockey moms that had been diagnosed.
By: Katrina Styx, The Hastings Star-Gazette
It was 1995 when Hastings area resident Bets Thorkelson started noticing how prevalent breast cancer is. Her son was playing hockey that year, and there were four other hockey moms that had been diagnosed.
It might be a good idea to have a screening of her own done, she figured.
In 2005, Thorkelson was diagnosed with breast cancer. It took a year and a half of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation to control the tumor. It was during her treatment, in 2006, that she decided at the encouragement of her niece to sign up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 60-mile walk to raise money for breast cancer research. She had already been walking with her neighbor for 23 years, so it made sense to participate in the walk.
“I walked, so why not start raising funds,” she said.
There were seven people on the team that year, and together they raised $28,000. Thorkelson was still on chemo when she did the walk.
This year, about 20 walkers from Minnesota and South Dakota are on Thorkelson’s team, the Feisty Fighters.
Each woman has her own reason for walking, but Thorkelson’s battle unifies them.
“She’s really the reason that I walk,” said Dreah Hadac.
Hadac joined the team in its second year, just after she had given birth to twins. She went to school with Thorkelson’s sons, and her mother-in-law was good friends with Thorkelson.
Lorraine Jacobson has been friends with Thorkelson for close to 30 years. Their group of six would often go out for dinner. When Thorkelson suggested they do the 3-Day, Jacobson initially thought the idea was crazy, because of their age. But she knew the hockey moms that initially got Thorkelson to think about breast cancer, and she knew her friend’s fight, so she joined the team.
Motivations would grow stronger, though. In 2009, Thorkelson was diagnosed a second time with breast cancer and had to have a bi-lateral mastectomy. In 2010, Jacobson’s sister-in-law was also diagnosed. Jacobson had put away her walking shoes after doing the 3-Day three years with the Feisty Fighters, but when she heard of the new diagnosis, she decided to walk again. Then another sister-in-law was diagnosed. This year, Jacobson felt it was appropriate to make the 60-mile trek once again, since she’s turning 60 this year.
Hadac also walks for the future of her three daughters, she said. And they’ve all been touched by the stories of the other walkers in the 3-Day, from the walkers who tackle the event in the midst of their battle to those in wheelchairs and even pregnant women.
“There are so many stories,” Jacobson said.
The Feisty Fighters have been an impressive fundraising team from the start.
“We have always been one of the top 10 teams in Minnesota,” Thorkelson said.
As of last year, the team has raised $267,000 for breast cancer research. This year, their goal is to raise $50,000, but Thorkelson said she thinks they’ll exceed that.
To help raise money, Feisty Fighters will be holding a fundraiser event, “Raise your Mugs 4 Jugs,” June 2 at Dugarel’s Bar and Grill in Hastings from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For $10, attendees will get all the beer they want, with food and drink specials and a silent auction. This is the first year the team will have held its main fundraising event in Hastings. In previous years, they’ve held it in Minneapolis. And although Hastings has a smaller population, the women are optimistic about holding the fundraiser here.
“I think we’ll have a big crowd,” Hadac said.
To donate to the team online, go to www.the3day.org/gotofeisty. For more about the fundraiser, email email@example.com.
More Hastings teams are involved
Feisty Fighters isn’t the only Hastings team raising money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure walk. Others the Hastings Star Gazette is aware of are listed below. To find the teams online, go to www.the3day.org, click on “Search for a Participant” under the “Donate” tab and search for the team by name.
Team Mickey’s Hope, like Feisty Fighters, is one of the state’s top fundraising teams. They’ve ranked in the top 10 for the past three years. The 15-member team is named after the mother of Pat, Mike and Tara O’Connor and has been participating in the walk for the past four years. Mickey died of breast cancer in 2008 and participated in several Susan G. Komen walks both as a walker and a crew member. The team this year includes four sisters from the Wichita, Kan., area, two of whom live in Hastings. One of the sisters is a breast cancer survivor.
The team’s fundraising goal is $35,000. They held a beer bash fundraiser in mid-April and a garage sale last weekend.
While they’re participating to raise funds for cancer research, members of Mickey’s Hope consider the 3-Day to be the most fun weekend of the year.
Me and Julio in Hastings and their sister pub, Lucky’s in Mendota, will have a fundraiser on Saturday, June 30, to support the event. There will be a 5K run in Mendota. To register, go to www.active.com.
Vickisisters is a two-person team walking in memory of Vicki Warner. Warner was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42 and had eight good years before the cancer returned. She lived another four years, but died in 2004.
The team, made up of Warner’s sisters Linda Tix and Nancy Angerman, needs to raise a minimum of $2,300 per person to participate in the walk. They have participated in the walk, either by walking or helping out with the crew, for four years.
“There’s no way we can stay away from this,” Tix said.