GRACE Annual Meeting Recap

It was a remarkable year! Those words capture the spirit of November 16th's annual meeting for Greater Richland Area Cancer Elimination.

Grace Board of Directors President Doug Duhr said that it is amazing to consider that Grace has been able to generate $3,166,312 in its 14 year history. In that time, 557 local people have received financial support from the Grace Local Cancer Patient Fund. Duhr said that the hope is the 15th anniversary year in 2018 can be a very special year of celebration. The total Greater Richland Area Cancer Elimination income for 2017 was $290,902, the second highest total in the 14 years. The Grace fund raising efforts have been greater than $200,000 every year since 2008. The 33 Walk with Grace teams raised $192,239. An additional $30,020 in income came from raffle ticket sales, the silent auction at the walk totaled $6,750; luminary sales added another $5,560 and the WRCO Walk with Grace Radio Auction contributed $47,555.

The funds raised allow 44% of the total, or $127,997 to be added to the Local Cancer Patient Fund to assist residents in the Grace service area. 36% was awarded last evening for research at UW Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center in Madison and Gundersen Health Systems in LaCrosse. Dr Paul Lambert of the Carbone Cancer Center accepted the $52,362 check from Grace saying that Grace is an amazing effort and an amazing achievement. He said the local dollars raised by Grace volunteers will provide a major impact in science at the Carbone Cancer Center. Dr. Eric Gundersen accepted the $52,362 contribution on behalf of Gundersen Health Systems. He echoed the comments of Dr Lambert and added, “This is terrific. Research money is not easy to come by these days. You deserve a great deal of credit.”

The Richland Hospital Foundation was granted 14.5% of the funds, or $42,180. Foundation Director Norbert Calnin said that the Grace effort is really something special. Calnin said that Richland County is good at growing corn and hay, but is really good at growing giving. The dollars given to the foundation will be used to fund new cancer detecting scopes to be used at the Richland Hospital. The remaining funds for 2017 will provide a half percent or $1,454 for Cancer Preventative Education, and 5% of $14,545 into the Grace operating fund.

12 of the 33 Walk with Grace teams raised more than $5,000 in 2017. Team Sandy and Tom was the top fund raising team with $22,553. The Fantastic Stampeders raised $20,204. Rockwell Automation contributed $19,668, Schreiber Foods Walk with Grace team earned $15,239, The Bulldog Bunch added $14,840, Richland County Bank Employees $13,000; Richland Medical Center $11,123; KC Connection $10,023; St. John's Lutheran Church $6,838; Team Booney Tunes $6,125; NASCAR Fans United $5,457; and Many People Caring raised $5,155.

Doug Duhr announced that two dedicated volunteers will be stepping down from their roles with Grace. Sherry Cooper, a member of the board from the start, has long served as the Director for Patient Assistance. Duhr said that Cooper will be greatly missed. The Board will be seeking a replacement member of the Board of Directors for Sherry Cooper. Sue Klingaman will also be stepping down. Sue has served as the Walk with Grace Chair for several years. Duhr said that Klingaman had done a tremendous job. Brittany Hall will be assuming the role of Walk Chair in 2018.