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Leaf for Lupus event is set for Oct. 16 and Oct. 17 at Hidden Greens

Last year, Kristie Wilson of Hastings and staff at Hidden Greens Golf Course teamed up to raise about $1,500 for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota by letting people come jump in massive leaf piles.

This year, Leaf for Lupus is back, and word on the street is that the leaf piles will be even bigger this time, Wilson said.

It will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 16 and 17.

The event started last year after staff at the golf course found out that Wilson, an employee at the time, has lupus. They already had a fall family tradition in place, when all the kids would come to jump in the leaves and have a good time. The owners and managers of the golf course decided to take it to the next level to support their employee's cause.

"We just came up with a way to raise even more money," Wilson said.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system can't tell the difference between foreign invaders - like viruses, bacteria and germs - and the body's own healthy tissues, such as joints, muscles, and even the heart.

"It can basically attack anything," Wilson said.

There is currently no cure for the disease, and the medicine being used only treats symptoms, Wilson explained.

"There hasn't been a drug approved for lupus in more than 50 years," she said.

In supporting the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, the fundraiser helps efforts to develop new, more effective, drugs and hopefully, a cure.

Each year, Wilson participates in the Lupus Walk for Hope, another fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota. In this year's walk, held in September, Wilson raised more than $2,800.

At Leaf for Lupus, she hopes to raise at least that much.

"Our goal is to beat what we raised for my walk," she said.

The event starts at the main entrance of Hidden Greens. After paying the $5 admission, attendees are treated to a horse- or tractor-drawn hayride through the golf course to the leaf piles. There will be raffle drawings for a signed photograph of Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Twins gear, a bed and breakfast stay at St. James Hotel and more. There will be a marshmallow cookout, and kids will get a chance to get their hair done in crazy colors and styles - which was a huge hit last year.

"Any time they can have fluorescent green hair is good, I guess," Wilson said.

One change from last year is that local farmer Jim Niebur will be selling pumpkins, with the money going to the Lupus Foundation.

Niebur is only one of many people stepping up.

"It's amazing all the support surrounding this event," Wilson said.

Hidden Greens is located at 12977 200th St. E., south of Hastings off Highway 61. For more information or in the case of inclement weather, call the golf course at 651-437-3085.