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Cancer auction completes another year of fund-raising


ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER AUCTION — Whitey Hagen stands next to roses given in honor of Karen Hammersmith’s 23rd year of being a breast cancer survivor during the second and final weekend of the 2016 Geneva Cancer Auction. (Star Eagle photo by Kathy Paulsen)



Staff Writer

Once again Whitey Hagen did his testing, “One-two-three, can you hear me?” as the second weekend of the 2016 Geneva Cancer Auction got underway Friday, Jan. 15.

“It is great to see all of you here, ‘cause after all we are from Minnesota,” said Hagen, referring to how bitterly cold it was outside.

“We had a hell of an auction last week,” said Hagen, pausing before adding, “This is a cancer auction, not a hen party,” trying to remind people to tone down the visiting and pay attention to what was going on.

The first item up for bid was a blanket donated by Geri Sorenson. He explained that Geri donated an afghan to the auction for the past 41 years.

“She gave me her 42nd afghan for the cancer auction before she died this past year,” said Hagen. “This one is special.”

The afghan brought $140, followed by another smaller afghan donated in memory of Geri.

What would a Geneva Cancer Auction without Sue Hill’s famous hot pickles?

“You can’t get them anywhere but here, unless you know Sue personally,” said Hagen.

Quickly there was a bid of $40, then $50. After several more bids, Darrell Hansen was declared the high bidder.

That was quickly followed with another cancer auction tradition, the famous “Stew Maker,” a pound of Hope butter along with a bag of potatoes and a bag of onions. Over the course of the night, many more “stew makers” were put up for bid.

Greg Hagen was kept busy updating the Memory Board, which included names of people who donated money in memory of family and friends.

“The reason we hold cancer auctions is to help with cancer research so people don’t become a memory,” said Whitey Hagen.

Jamie Hagen read the names of people who had been remembered at that point: Vern Utpadel, Beverly Vokoun, Steve Wayne, Marjean Thompson, Bud Dietze, Judy Thompson, Gerry Vangen, Geri Sorenson and Bill May.

A large number of plates of cookies were donated by Frank Green in memory of David (Diff) Diffendorfer. Kathy Paulsen donated packages of banana bread paired with a pound of Hope butter donated by Victor Mrotz. Deviled were donated by Sally Dietz.

“There is nothing better than home grown, fresh eggs,” said Hagen. “When she picked these eggs, I am sure the chickens talked back to her.”

Sally also donated a dozen homegrown eggs.

An oil change at Motor Inn and $50 in new coins was donated by Security State Bank of Albert Lea.

“We want to thank all the people and businesses who donate,” said Hagen. “We couldn’t’ do this without them.”

A “tricks or treat” basket was given by Pat King in memory of Gail Rysavy, who had died from cancer about a year ago.

Next up was a long, colorful scarf donated by a cancer survivor. Numerous scarves were auctioned; many were quickly wrapped around somebody’s neck.

Many platefuls of “Jell-O shots” and “pudding shots” were put up for bid.

Julio’s in Hayward donated two fish dinners, followed by a plate of chocolate chip cookies made by Kathy Paulsen.

“Daryl taught her how to make these delicious cookies,” said Hagen.

Ruth Hagen donated a “silver and spice and everything nice” purse.

A Coca-Cola Corvette car carrier was donated. Again Hagen had a comment: “$110, twice the speed limit, but you don’t have to slow down as we are fighting cancer.”

Jamie Hagen took center stage with Steve Bailey and explained that the Minnesota Pheasant & Waterfowl Society has been a strong supporter of the Geneva Wild Game Feed, and presented a $1,000 donation to the cancer auction.

Agnes Christensen donated in memory of her husband, LeRoy.

A bottle of Jack Daniels, a box of microwave popcorn, cocktail peanuts and beef jerky brought a sizeable bid.

The Albert Lea Chamber of Commerce donated mugs, a thermos cooler and a lunch basket. A “beauty basket” was donated by Alyssa Hagen. A decorative window frame containing 2 5x7 picture frames was donated by Geneva Bar & Grill owners Greg and Chelsea Hanson.

The Village Inn of Hartland donated a gift certificate, Geneva Meats donated pork chops, and George’s of Geneva sent over three hot suppers, quickly bought and enjoyed.

Bud and Peggy Sorenson, a cancer survivor, donated donuts and an angel food cake.

Doug and Sandy Felt donated a large container of homemade apple pie schnapps in memory of their late son Matt, who would have celebrated his birthday Jan. 15.

It was agreed that Matt had a passion for life and had been taken too early. Jamie Hagen suggested everyone join in singing “Happy Birthday” to Matt, which they did.

A unique jar containing homemade chocolate chip cookies was donated by Janet Stadheim.

NRHEG’s hometown hero, Carlie Wagner, graciously autographed a number of Minnesota Gopher items to be auctioned. There were also Gopher tickets and autographed items from NRHEG High School’s state girls’ basketball championship.

Janette Ladlie, part of the Freeborn cancer group, said Freeborn’s auction has been in existence for eight years and this year raised $41,000 for cancer research.

Jim Lutgens at the NRHEG Star Eagle donated several newspaper subscriptions. He was thanked for the great coverage our local paper provides from the many cancer fundraising events throughout the year.

Jennie Schumacher donated homemade cuisine and several quilts, including a “Frozen” quilt with stars on the back. Jane Tappe donated a “triple dipper” crock pot, along with chicken wild rice soup and other items.

Many 2016 Geneva Cancer Auction T-shirts and sweatshirts, which this year are dark grey in color and included gold colored lettering, which represents childhood cancer, were put up for bid over the weekend.

A couple of Breast Cancer Awareness quilts and blanket, including one donated by Judy Klukow, a cancer survivor, were put up for bid, as were a few more shovels from Frontier Communications in honor of Thomas “Digger” Donnelly.

A large number of gift certificates were put up for bid over the course of the night, including some from 3 in 1 Bar in Hollandale and Freeborn Lumber.

It was announced that Graci Svoboda, Katie Quam, Ellie Baker and Sophia Mrotz would be getting their hair cut on Saturday which also helps provide money for cancer research, as well as for others who may need cosmetic wigs following treatments.

Whitey auctioned off a pint of Jayne Busho’s home canned pickled beets, which he explained were like gold. He also auctioned off a plate of “female divinity,” which Whitey explained did not contain nuts.

The Friday night auction came to a close at 10:30. 

DuWayne (Whitey) and LaJune Hagen made their yearly trip to Rochester on Sunday, Jan. 17 where they attended the live broadcast of 62nd Annual Eagles Cancer Telethon which at Mayo Civic Center.

Whitey said Geneva has become a place very dedicated to fighting cancer and over the years they have donated a very large amount of money for cancer research. He offered up a big thank you to the many people in the Geneva area who continue to do what they can to help find a cure.

Whitey went on to say that everyone who donates, the people who continue to help and all the people who support the many fundraising activities that are held in Geneva are to be commended.

Whitey then presented a check in the amount of $90,000, the grand total of the money raised from all the different fundraising events that took place over the past year.

Next week: the action from Saturday.

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