The It Only Takes A Spark Cancer Walk core committee is working hard to continue to grow its annual event and needs your help in doing so. “Currently nine teams are signed up to take part,” stated committee member Ann Tuchscherer. “More teams are needed and welcome. The core committee challenges community youth groups, school organizations, neighborhoods, businesses and churches to form a team to help those in Grant County who are afflicted with cancer.”
The local cancer walk began in June 1998, as the Relay for Life. Fourteen teams raised between $35,000 and $40,000 for the American Cancer Society. The following year, the Relay for Life was replaced by It Only Takes A Spark, and grossed $28,200. Fifty percent of the funds went to the cancer sector of Grant County Heart and Cancer, 40% went to state and/or national cancer research and 10% was used for operating funds and cancer prevention/awareness.
Over the years, It Only Takes A Spark has continued to grow and has raised larger amounts of money with the largest amount raised in 2015 where it generated over $140,000. The distribution of the funds has evolved into 70% of the proceeds being used for local cancer patients in the greater Grant County area.
The funds are allocated by a disbursement board and are used for cancer-related medications, gas cards for transportation to medical facilities, lodging expenses related to cancer treatment and some hospital and clinic expenses.
A young parent of three and a core committee member, Aaron Anderson, has been a recipient of cancer walk funds. He said, “Assistance from the cancer walk allowed me not to stress out on the financial part of everything as cancer itself is stressful enough. The assistance allowed me to feel more financially stable.”
The core committee uses the remaining 30% of the funds in different ways each year. It has been used for purchasing cancer-related equipment for use in the Milbank hospital, donations to cancer research, assisting the cancer support group and operating expenses for future walks.
Those who have been diagnosed with cancer can apply for financial help. The applications, which are required yearly, are available at the area clinics, the hospital and pharmacies and from Cheryl Ward who is located in the Grant County Courthouse. Currently, over 60 applicants are receiving financial assistance through these funds. These patients live in and around Milbank, Big Stone City, Twin Brooks, Stockholm, Corona, Revillo and LaBolt.
“The public can help guarantee the continued success of this extraordinary community service by forming a cancer walk team,” said Tuchscherer. “The number of teams has decreased through the years while the money needed has increased.”
The public can also sponsor a cancer walk activity, attend and support fundraising opportunities provided by the various teams, provide a sponsorship for the walk and pray for the success of Cancer Walk 2016.
To register a team or to assist in It Only Takes A Spark Cancer Walk, call Angie Johnson, 949-2155; Aaron Anderson, 380-0503; Amanda Cummins, 467-1001; Matt Scott, 467-9689, or Ann Tuchscherer, 432-6023. The committee can also be contacted through its mailing address at It Only Takes A Spark, PO Box 105, Milbank, SD 57252, or through its Facebook page. You may also visit the website at www.takesaspark.org for more information.
“If you have any questions regarding the importance of It Only Takes A Spark, please don’t hesitate to contact the committee,” stated Tuchscherer.