Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 12, 2002

Two teams from Winsted participate in Relay for Life

By Ryan Gueningsman

"Your name gets called as a cancer survivor, and that's when the tears start," Jeanne Norman said. "Everyone is there for everyone. It was very moving."

Norman was participating in her second American Cancer Society Relay for Life last weekend at Masonic Park in Hutchinson, which is a team event to raise funds to help the fight against cancer.

Two teams from Winsted were formed for the relay, one headed by Jean Kappel, and the other by Barb Fasching.

Kappel and Fasching attended the same Relay for Life meeting, but didn't know the other was going to be at the meeting until they saw each other.

Kappel, a cancer survivor, and Fasching, whose niece Angela Volness, of Winsted, is a cancer survivor, decided to form two teams rather than just one.

"Last year, after having some surgery, Jan (Kappel's wife) and I were heading up to Saint Cloud, and we had heard about Relay for Life going on in the first part of August. We just stopped to check it out, and we both thought it was pretty cool," Kappel said.

The main way teams raise money is by selling luminaries, which are paper bags filled with sand and a candle. They can be decorated in memory of a cancer survivor, or someone who died from cancer, and they are placed along the areas the relay takes place, he said.

"Every luminary has the name of a person who had cancer and died, or has cancer and still living," he said. About 5,000 bags are put out.

"There are a number of teams (32 teams with 400 total participants) that work to raise money. Each team gives itself a name, and comes up with an additional fundraiser besides selling the luminaries.

Kappel's team, which was called "Winsted Walkers for Life," decided to enlist the help of Winsted water-colorist Char Laxen, who is herself a cancer survivor.

The team members sold raffle tickets for a prize of one night for two at Mrs. B's Historic Bed and Breakfast in Lanesboro, with a four-course meal, which was donated by Mrs. B's and Jimmy's Pizza. In addition to the night, the winner also received a limited edition print from Laxen, titled "The Eye of the Storm," which was painted from a picture taken of the porch at Mrs. B's.

Fasching's team, "Faith, Hope, and Love," sold candy at the actual relay as its additional fund raiser.

There is an opening ceremony for the event, the introduction of survivors, a celebration lap, all participants lap, the luminary lighting ceremony, speakers, and other activities throughout the night.

At different phases of the night, the words "hope, love, and cure," were spelled out, in luminaries, on a hill for everyone to see.

"It was a very powerful night," Laxen said. It's a night that is festive, fun, and it's a party atmosphere where people support each other.

"Everybody seems to know someone that has had or has some kind of cancer, too, so it is really something that everyone is aware of."

The upper Midwest is one of the largest contributors to Relay for Life, which takes place all across the United States.

Kappel said there is already interest in keeping the teams going for next year's relay.

"It's a public event, and it's our hope to keep the teams going for next year," Kappel said. "People are excited about it and said that they are looking forward to doing it next year as well."

For other information, or to get involved with next year's teams, contact Fasching at (320) 485-4520, or Kappel at (320) 485-2821.


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