The It Only Takes A Spark Cancer Walk raised $130,000 for the greater Grant County area during its 19th annual event Friday, June 10. Nearly 2,600 luminaries were sold in honor or in memory of someone affected by cancer, resulting in over 1,100 names being read during the walk.
“Much appreciation and thanks goes out to all our teams and volunteers for this year’s walk,” stated core committee member Matt Scott. “Without them and the awesome people of the greater Grant County area, we couldn’t raise such funds.”
According to Scott, attendance was down because of the hot temperatures. Despite that, a crowd rallied to enjoy the picnic arranged by Jim Trevett of Trevett’s Cafe and his countless volunteers. The Kiwanis club served the meal. Amberly Warren sang her rendition of the National Anthem and the lap of life was led by Wayde Fraasch as the honorary chair.
Two new teams joined the walk this year. They were the C-Team and Poet Biorefining. The C-Team, led by Kim Bjerke, sold over 6,000 cupcakes to augment this year’s efforts. “That’s a lot of baking and decorating,” said Scott. The C-Team was awarded the year-round fundraising team award along with the top non-corporate fundraising team award. Poet Biorefining also showcased an ethanol fueled Nascar car.
“The teams continue to get more creative each year. Choosing the most creative campsite was challenging,” Scott said. The award was given to the Frozen-themed team site from Great Western Bank. “The photos with Frozen characters was a big hit.” stated Scott. Great Western Bank also earned the top corporate fundraising team award. The final team award was given to The Pit Crew of St. William’s Care Center/Whetstone Insurance for its team spirit.
Inflatables were a huge hit again this year as was the balloon launcher. The live auction included a variety of baskets, hand crafted items, and plants assembled by teams or donated to the walk. The auction raised over $6,000.
The fireworks display was donated by Poppers Fireworks, Betty’s Fireworks, and Roger McCulloch. Zumba and the team competitions helped keep the teams active through the night. The Bulldogs Fighting Cancer team won the most points to earn a pizza party donated by Pizza Hut.
“A big shout-out goes to the Merchants Fighting Cancer, led by Twin Valley Tire, for assembling a great list of items to raffle off,” Scott said. “They raised $15,000. Over the past 7 years, they’ve raised $75,000. Another shout out goes to the Marching Medics for their phenomenal luminary sales,” he said. “They sold almost 600.”
“Give Cancer the Boot” boots- purple boots donated by Runnings- were decorated by the teams and displayed at locations around Milbank to collect loose change. “That idea came up just a few weeks before the walk,” explained Scott. “It started a community challenge for people to root for their favorite team.” The Great Western Bank team raised the most funds and was presented a traveling award. “We plan to have the boots show up at events and businesses throughout the year,” said Scott.
There will be two spots opening up on the core committee this year. Angie Johnson will be leaving after 4 years of service. Matt Scott will also be leaving after 3 years. Both were presented plaques by Amanda Cummins and thanked for their service to It Only Takes A Spark.
“We encourage anyone interested in helping out in a creative way or forming a team to contact us to continue the fight against cancer and to help those affected by cancer in our community,” said Scott. If you are interested in the core committee, contact a current member or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Scott added his thanks for the sponsors, teams, volunteers, and the community and said, “All it takes is a little spark to make a difference and we certainly have a LOT OF SPARK in this community.”