Goodsoil concert raises money to fight cancer

Holly Eckel, holding son Conrad, shares her thanks and Conrad's progress in his fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the fourth annual Goodsoil in Concert for Cancer. The toddler was on the run throughout most of the evening, showing no evidence of illness. The family sold orange wrist bands sporting the family's motto of "Small but mighty."

By Rhonda Cooper

The Goodsoil Community Hall was filled to capacity Aug. 14 for the fourth annual Goodsoil in Concert for Cancer.

“We sold an extra 100 tickets this year,” said Jeanette Hayes, co-master of ceremonies. “The event just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.”

The roots of the event can be traced to the Lori Craven Memorial Ball Tournament in Lloydminster. Hitting the field for its tenth annual this past weekend, the money from the two fundraisers is distributed to families who are coping with cancer.

“Last year the concert and the two-day ball tournament raised approximately $90,000,” said Ron Treptow, concert co-master of ceremonies.

The Goodsoil event is spearheaded by the Bender family.

“This was a dream of mine,” said Barb Nachbaur (nee Bender). “After my mom and younger sister passed away from cancer, I wanted to help people who were suffering from cancer. We have a very talented family and thought we could use that to help others.”

The family discussed the idea and it was sister Sylvia, the family co-ordinator, who got the wheels in motion. Since their younger sister Cynthia Treptow, who was claimed by cancer, was involved with the Lori Craven tournament, they decided to create a function to supplement its efforts.

“The first year we raised $5,000 and we thought we did it all,” said Nachbaur.

The proceeds grew substantially as the second concert raised $21,000 and the 2010 edition $25,000.

The initial event included a concert featuring local talent, and three different auctions – dessert, silent and live. The auctions have grown in size as more people and businesses have stepped forward with donations.

“We are just on such a high,” said Nauchbaur, “There are so many great people in the community who want to help so it’s not a burden for one person.”

One of those people is Lorraine Dombroski. Since her retirement five years ago, Dombroski has taken up quilting.

“I’ve made one for each of my 18 grandchildren,” she said.

As a member of the concert committee, she offered to make and donate one for the event. Marie Bender noted the queen size quilt is a popular item every year and the tickets basically sell themselves indicated.

“Every year, I’ve made one and every year it’s gone,” said Dombroski.

The first two quilts had a nature theme, while the third one featured cancer’s ribbons of hope, and this year’s showcased words of encouragement for those battling the disease.

“I’m already trying to think of what to do for next year’s,” Dombroski said.

“I really enjoy doing something like this that will help someone else.”
Every year, three to five families are chosen from a group of applicants to receive money to offset the financial burdens of fighting cancer. Because of the community’s fundraising efforts, one of the families has a tie to Goodsoil.

Last year’s Goodsoil recipient Denise Honish, her husband and sons took to the stage where they expressed their appreciation to all who helped them through their support of the Cancer for Concert.

This year’s benificary was in attendance and was introduced to the crowd. Holly Eckel, a native of Goodsoil and Derek Huppertz’s not quite two-year old son Conrad was diagnosed with leukemia May 27.

The toddler underwent surgery May 28 and had his first round of chemotherapy May 29. He has completed three rounds of chemo, overcome a high fever and laryngitis, according to Eckel, and will return for more chemo once his cell counts reach the required levels.

“We are so grateful for all the love and support we have received,” said Eckel. “We cannot thank you enough.”

Huppertz echoed Eckel’s heartfelt sentiments with the last word going to Conrad, who thrilled himself and the crowd by making a sound into the microphone.

At the end of the night, $34,000, the highest total to date was raised so people who are battling cancer can have a better quality of life. Plans are already underway for the 2012 edition.

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