Fishin to Fight Cancer
Jean Allen and her daughter Mollie went fishing Friday night. The only odd part about it was they weren’t any where close to water.
They were “Fishin to Fight Cancer” at the Dodge County Relay for Life held at the fairgrounds in Kasson. They did so by carrying a banner in the survivor’s walk during the relay.
Allen led a team from the Dodge County Courthouse that came out on top once again by raising nearly $19,000. The other team captain was Rose Culbertson. Allen works in the administrative department while Culbertson is in the finance department.
Becoming the top team in the county doesn’t come easy. The courthouse employees fundraise throughout the entire year through a variety of ways, including baked sales, garage sales and selling treats like homemade dipped caramel apples in fall.
“We have a reputation,” Allen says. “We have a really amazing team of people that are passionate about making a difference.”
Walking along the survivor’s lap during the relay is an emotional experience for Allen. “When you see this lap of survivors, I’ve never made it through without a tear in my eye,” she said.
If Allen needs an inspiration during the relay, she needs to think no further than her fellow team captain. Culbertson has lost her husband, mother and several siblings to cancer over the years.
“We’re the dynamic duo,” Culbertson said.
Added Allen, “We’re like Batman and Robin. She’s Batman.”
Culbertson started the county team in 2001 after losing her husband Bruce to leukemia in 1998 and her mother in 2000. One time a few years back Culbertson lost her brother just as the relay was wrapping up early in the morning. “The sunrise was beautiful and there was a rainbow,” she said.
She hopes her involvement with relay will mean “hope for the rest of my family.” Members of her family from other areas have joined at the local relay to help out.
“It’s my hope that we find a cure for cancer so my kids don’t have to suffer and battle,” said Culbertson. She added that she hopes researchers will find a vaccination for cancer.
Dodge County consistently raises at least $140,000 or more each year for cancer. The county’s record came in 2010 when $175,000 was raised. The impressive numbers have pushed Dodge County into being in the Top 10 nationwide per capita for money raised. “It’s unbelievable,” Culbertson said.
With Culbertson and Allen’s team consistently coming out on top in the county, they brush off any hint of competiveness. “We don’t do it to be competitive,” Allen said, “We do it because we care.”
Allen said she can’t believe how prevalent cancer has become. She knows of at least five county employees who are currently fighting cancer. “It’s everywhere,” she said. “It’s like you can't throw a stick and hit someone with cancer.”
The county team is already looking ahead to next year. There will be a Think Pink Stop and Shop event at Holy Family Catholic Church in Kasson on Oct. 6 with many vendors showcasing homemade crafts and foods.