As a first-year Relay for Life team, members of the Wheatland Windy's from Harlowton, have loads of enthusiasm and ingenuity.
One method this new team had for raising funds to fight cancer was a bit unusual and involved a toilet that had been painted purple. The Windy team sold insurance to guard against having the "purple potty" placed in potential victims' front yards. Others paid for the privilege of having the potty placed in the yards of the unsuspecting and "uninsured". The "purple potty" caper raised over $1,800 for the team during the two weeks that it was active.
"We had to stop the 'purple potty' before it went on until Christmas!" said Tina Peterson, team captain. "It was really heavy to cart around town and place in people's yards."
Traditionally, Central Montana Relay for Life teams raise money by selling luminaria bags in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of someone who has not survived and by selling stars as a means of showing support in the fight against cancer. Some teams have yard sales or bake sales. The Wheatland Windy's are selling 5-oz. bags of specialty coffee, specifically Huckleberry and Premium Ground. The coffee is roasted locally in Harlowton at Snowy Mountain Coffee and is available from team members or at 1st and Mane, the hair salon operated by team captain Tina Peterson. The coffee will also be available for purchase during the Central Montana Relay for Life evenet on July 22 at the Fergus County Fairgrounds, Lewsistown.
Not stopping there, the Harlowton team held a donation-only yard sale, which raised over $500 for the team. None of the items were priced; purchasers gave donations to the team instead. Team members have also sold root beer floats and sundaes at the Mid-Town Market owned by Tina's mom, Beth Keating, a two-year cancer survivor.
"We have four youths on our team this year. The girls went door-to-door in town with film canisters and asked residents for loose change. They raised about $400 for the team, and we have donations from out of state as well. One man was in town for a funeral. He was from Minnesota and gave us $100. A lady from Pennsylvania read about the 'purple potty' and sent us a donation," Peterson said.
Even though the Windy's is a new team, some of its members are past participants in the Central Montana Relay for Life. Last year, Tina was the captain of the Weight Watchers team, driving from Harlowton every two weeks for the team captains' meetings, which began with the annual kick-off event in February.
"Attending the meetings takes about three and a half hours out of my work schedule each time, so participating in Relay for Life is not just about getting funding for cancer research. Cancer has affected members of my family, customers of the salon and sommunity members as well. That makes it very personal," Peterson empasised.
Two years ago Tina's mother, Beth Keating, was still taking chemotherapy treatments when the Relay event was help. Beth stated the entire night of the event with her daughters, family and other team members who made sure she stayed warm and comfortable when she wasn't taking her turn, walking on the track for 20 minutes at a time. Beth has been an active and enthusiastic participant in Relay these past two years. This year she is helping her new team by furnishing a venue for the food and fund-raisers, and on July 19, from 4 to 6 p.m., members of the team will be selling yogurt parfaits at Beth's store. The parfaits will be topped with "crunch" donated by Cream of the West, a great example of a community coming together to support efforts by the American Cancer Society.
The goal of the American Cancer Society is to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventiong cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
For more information on the Central Montana Relay for Life, go to their web site or call local chairperson Chris Cooler at 366-2606.
Central Montana Relay for Life