Herald and Journal, Aug. 16, 1999

Fighting cancer via a coloring book

By Angela Lachermeier

Lachermeier, formerly of Winsted, resides in Waverly where she has an art studio and shop.

I remember the day I got involved with The Wright Cancer Prescription because it was so ironic how it all came about.

I had just seen the Waverly town clock installed in a vacated lot across from my art studio/shop What Next?*! I was consumed with trying to get the downtown Waverly area cleaned up, and the courtyard and town clock were part of that project.

I learned that trying to make small improvements in a small town was a bigger challenge than I had ever imagined. Well, the clock was up and running and I just exclaimed to myself "That's it!! I've had it!! No more projects!"

I did not envision when I sat down in my art studio to catch up on reading the Drummer, that five minutes later I would be committing myself to another project. The ironic part was that after reading the headline- for the feature article, which was on The Wright Cancer Prescription, I hesitated and debated whether I wanted to read the article.

Our family had just lost our 12-year-old nephew to a rare muscle cancer and just the thought of reading an article about cancer tightened my stomach.Something inside of me told me to read it, so I did.

The article talked about a new cancer prevention and support program. I made it through almost the entire article before one sentence jumped out at me.

The article mentioned their hopes of having a coloring book for children featuring their mascot Wrighty Roo, the kangaroo. I decided then and there that I would donate all the artwork for the coloring book project in memory of my nephew Nathan Kutz who lost his courageous battle with cancer in 1996.

My husband, Ken Kutz and I lived in Mesa, Ariz., at the time of Nathan's illness and flew back to Minnesota frequently to visit Nathan. It was during one of those trips back that we decided to purchase the Old Waverly Bank building in downtown Waverly. We realized the importance of being near our family and set into motion a plan that would eventually bring us home to Minnesota.

I had never done a coloring book. Lack of experience was not something that I even thought of. I was confident that I could do it and came to realize that God works in mysterious ways. I knew deep down that this was a worthy project and if any child could learn anything about cancer, that alone would be worth any effort on my part.

Karla Heeter, The Wright Cancer Prescription director, attempted to write the text for the coloring book and phoned her friend Jan Heyerdahl, an English teacher, for assistance. The text was written in November 1998. The day I called to say the artwork is complete and ready to go to print, Jan was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and would undergo a bi-lateral mastectomy.

Six months ago, when she wrote the text for the coloring book she never imagined she would be faced with cancer and all the challenges that cancer patients must endure. With Jesus by her side, Jan begins the journey that countless others have already experienced as cancer survivors.

Our family was strengthened by Nathan's illness, and I truly believe Nathan is an inspiration to everyone that knew him. The coloring book project has been a rewarding endeavor and has provided our family with many discussions of our wonderful memories of Nathan.

I look forward to the release of The Wrighty Roo Coloring Book and hope that in some way it educates our youth about cancer. The funding for the coloring book project is still underway, so if that sentence jumps out at you like it did for me over six months ago, let me assure you that it is for a very good cause and donations can be made in memory of a loved one.

If you would like to help the people in Wright County "get a jump on cancer", you can contact The Wright Cancer Prescription at 11 NE First Street, PO Box 482 Buffalo, Minnesota 55313.

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