Banding together for cancer

It helps to band together when trying to fight against something as ruthless as cancer and that’s just what happened Wednesday when the “Minot Bands Together” sponsors presented a check to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign.

A representative from “Minot Bands Together” presented a check totaling $37,758 to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign during an event Wednesday at the Minot Family YMCA. The Minot Bands Together sponsors selected the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign as the recipient charity. Representatives from Trinity Foundation were also present at the ceremony.

Kim Whittemore, one of the three organizers for Minot Bands Together, said they chose the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign because they love the cause and wanted to help people get through chemotherapy.

“Having cancer is bad enough, but so is chemo,” she added.

The Minot Bands Together event was a concert featuring local bands not heard from since the Reagan, Bush and possibly Clinton administrations. Whittemore said the concert was a big event at the end of April, but the organization had other fundraisers throughout the year as well, like a scavenger hunt, a motorcycle run called Kickstands for Cancer and a mini-golf tournament. Personal donations also came in for the cause.

“This $37,000 donation was unbelievable,” Whittemore said. “We had a lot of cash donations, too. We’re very happy and the money all goes specifically to cancer exercise rehab.”

Trinity Health’s cancer exercise rehabilitation program is available for cancer patients and survivors who have become or may become deconditioned from treatment or the disease itself. The program is meant to relieve fatigue and weakness that accompanies cancer treatment.

Whittemore has family members who have been through cancer and knows people who have gone through the cancer exercise rehabilitation program.

“This is what we can do to help people through chemo,” she said, about the contributions from Minot Bands Together. They could have donated the money for cancer research instead and that would have been a drop in the bucket, Whittemore noted, but donating the money to the cancer exercise rehabilitation program will directly help a lot more people.

Smiles were aplenty at the presentation, but none seemed to be wider or brighter than that of Russell Gust, exercise physiologist and coordinator of the cancer exercise rehabilitation program.

“We appreciate your contribution and it will help a lot of people,” he said.

As an example of how the cancer exercise rehabilitation program has helped, Gust shared a story of a woman who had just been at the YMCA that morning. The woman has been confined to a wheelchair and has come to rehabilitation sessions eight times and was able to walk halfway around the track.

“She wouldn’t have been able to do that without this program,” he said.