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Fairmont Area Schools ready to ‘Tackle Cancer’

FAIRMONT — Nearly everyone knows someone who has had or is battling cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019 there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths in the United States. Many people and organizations are raising funds to find a cure.

On Friday, the Cardinal football game in Fairmont will be a “Tackle Cancer” event, through the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. The game starts at 7 p.m. Fairmont will play Norwood Young America.

The fund was started by KARE11 reporter Randy Shaver and aims to support the cancer community in Minnesota by funding research, prevention and treatment. Shaver’s mission became personal when he was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s disease in 1998.

Last year, Deb Heinrich organized a Tackle Cancer women’s football clinic to boost awareness. Money was raised to help local individuals facing a cancer diagnosis, and $500 was given to the Randy Shaver fund. About 150 women in the community attended.

Cyndi Johnson, a retired Fairmont High School English teacher, is coordinating this year’s activities and fundraising.

The website randyshavercancerfund.org lists all of the games in the state designated Tackle Cancer during September and October. High school and college teams across the state participate. The Minnesota Football Coaches Association is a sponsor of the fund.

“It’s amazing how many are doing this,” Johnson said. “I’m so excited that we’re a part of it on Friday.”

There are 32 high school football games designating their games Friday to Tackle Cancer.

The Fairmont football team will autograph a football to be raffled off during the third quarter of its game. Raffle tickets are $5 and can be purchased the night of the game through halftime. All proceeds will go to the Randy Shaver fund.

“We’re going to do a two-minute drill between the first and second quarters of the game,” Johnson said. “We’ll have a variety of people in the stands passing buckets to collect money for the Randy Shaver fund.”

Though funds raised from the night will go to all types of cancer and research, fans are asked to wear pink.

Johnson reached out to administrators at the local elementary and high school, inviting them to create a challenge between staff members at the two schools to raise money.

“I invited all of the team home coaches and activity leaders to create challenges,” Johnson said. “I know of one, for sure, happening through the grade levels.”

Tackle Cancer is highly personal to Johnson, as she is battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

“Of course metastatic breast cancer is at the forefront of my mind, but cancer in general has impacted so many people,” she said. “Almost everyone is impacted by cancer, so I think this is really important.”

Anyone who has questions or wishes to donate may contact Johnson through email at cyndijohn1@midco.net or reach her at (507) 236-6843.

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