Monday, June 1, 2020

Relay for Life features 4 honorary chairs

This year, the Dodge County Relay

for Life has a team of honorary chairs. 

These four women have had 

cancer and know that enemy

first hand. They all survived.

They all wanted to give

back because they consider

themselves the lucky ones.

And now they all spend

countless hours working on

the Relay.

The women are Lisa

Rollins, Pat Shaffer-

Gottschalk, Annette

O’Donnell, and Teresa


Lisa Rollins

Lisa Rollins is co-chairing

the event this year with

Aleta Abbott who ran the

event for 25 years.

Rollins became involved

with Relay because, “I

wanted to find a way to give


I was lucky. After battling

lymphoma, I survived. A

multitude of my relatives

and friends have not. My

family and I were already

participating in the Relay in

Dodge County, so I thought I

could find a way to be more

involved. Aleta wanting to

step down a little and have

someone join her in the

chairperson duties. It seemed

like a great opportunity –

although it did seem a little


Rollins and her family

have always volunteered in

many community events. She

and her husband, Len have

been involved with Scouting

for more than 20 years in the

Plainview area. One year,

Lisa and Len were selected

as King and Queen of the

Plainview Corn on the Cob

Days. The couple also hosted

an exchange ‘son’ - Vinicius -

from Brazil for a year.

“That was such a

rewarding experience,” said


Her Relay team is the

“Puff Cookies.” The Rollins’

daughter, Ashley Dahl, is

the captain. Lisa explained

that the original name of the

team was the Tough Cookies

but, someone heard Puff

Cookies and that’s how they

were registered.

The whole family helps out

including Ashley’s husband,

Jimmy, and Lisa and Len’s

son Jon.

Pat Shaffer-Gottschalk

She and her husband,

David, started a Relay

team, the “Rainbow Team”

in Virginia 16 years ago

when Pat had finished her

treatments against cancer.

“I said to David that I

wished I could help others

also walking the same

path, sharing the same

journey. We were the

“Rainbow Team” because

we were all ages and colors,

from all walks of life,

all touched by cancer as

survivors, caregivers, family,

friends. We would grow

to be great friends, walked

together in many Relays,

and helped each other

journey through difficult

times. Although I now live in

Minnesota, I celebrate their

friendship, and the collective

hope of all who Relay


Pat’s family has fought

cancer for many years. “Both

of my parents died of cancer

- each had two separate

kinds of cancer and both

survived the first, but not

the second. I learned grit,

fortitude, hard work and love

from each of them.”

Here in Dodge County,

Pat is on the Relay Planning

Committee, and she is also

the team captain of the

“Book Bunch” Team.

“It’s made up of my

wonderful coworkers at

Kasson Public Library and

friends,” she explained.

She also helps with the

Survivor’s Reception.

Pat and David have two

grown daughters, Renata and


“My younger daughter was

only in first grade when I had

cancer and I thank God every

day that I have survived to

see them grow up,” said Pat.

Annette O’Donnell

Annette O’Donnell is

another of the honorary

chairs. She participated

in her first Relay event,

“Twenty-one days before

my brother died of cancer. I

became the captain the next

year, and 11 years later, here

I am.”

O’Donnell herself was

diagnosed with cancer when

she was 38 years old. She

also lost her mom and dad to

cancer. She has many siblings

who have also been diagnosed

with cancer.

During her time as captain

of the Relay team, the ‘Holy

Strollers,’ she started and ran

the mammoth garage sale

that’s held each summer at

Holy Family Catholic Church

in Kasson. The team also sells

‘Cancer Sucks-Help us Lick It’

lollipops all around Kasson.

The ‘Holy Stroller’ team sells

chili on Relay night.

She also helps with the

Survivor’s Reception,

coordinates with local

haulers to take care of the

environmental service needs

during Relay and, of course,

helps set up and take down

Relay equipment before and

after the event each year.

Her husband, Allen;

daughter Dawn and her

husband, Doug; son Allen Jr.,

and his wife, Ann; and son

Ben, and his wife, Deanna,

have all helped Annette

through the years. Annette

and Allen’s six grandchildren

also bring joy to the lively


Teresa Neuzil

Teresa Neuzil is also an

honorary chair. She has been

involved with the American

Cancer Society since 1995,

“…after my diagnosis with

cancer. I remember hearing

about the Relay for Life

and I wanted to be a part

of it since cancer touched

my life more personally. I

remember I called one of

the teams because I didn’t

know anybody that was

participating in it and got on

their team.”

Neuzil explained that she

has been part of a couple of

different teams over the years

but now she is the captain of

‘Team Hope,’ which is made

up of family and friends.

She explained, “One thing I

love about the Dodge County

Relay is what a sense of

community it gives me. We

have such great support here

and it is fun to see everybody

come out for the Relay

night. Cancer really touches

everyone involved whether

it’s friends or family. It’s good

to give back and to involved

with the American Cancer

Society. I want to be part

of the Cure and that won’t

happen if we don’t fundraise

for this important cause. I

want the next generation

to have less cancer in their


Neuzil helps team member

Marty Currie decorate the

stage for the Dodge County

Relay for Life each year. Her

team hosts the stuffed animal


“It’s become a tradition for

us,” she said. ß

Relay for Life in Dodge

County is at the Dodge


County Fairgrounds Aug. 3.

See full story in this week’s print edition or subscribe online. Please subscribe here or current subscribers can login here.

Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944


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