by NATHANIEL NELSON
Next weekend, the streets of Rollingstone will be filled with the sounds of celebration as the city holds its annual Rollingstone Days festival. But on top of just having a weekend to have fun and enjoy camaraderie among neighbors, many attendees will also be walking and sweating to raise money for local cancer patients –– the annual Rollingstone Roll-n-Stroll Cancer Walk will be taking place next Saturday.
Geri Lehnertz, the organizer of the event, explained that the walk has been a part of Rollingstone for more than a decade as a way for community members to help out the people around them who are dealing with the hardship of cancer.
“We’ve been doing for years,” Lehnertz said. “We started this as a cancer fundraiser, and the money that we make on this walk goes into a fund that helps out areas residents when they have cancer.” The fund has expanded to include other cases of hardship, as well, Lehnertz added.
The race will take place on Saturday, August 3, as a part of the city’s festival celebrations. Registration begins at 7 a.m. while the races –– a 5K run and a one-mile race –– kick off an hour later. According to Lehnertz, in the past, the race has been run by dozens of Winona County residents every year.
“It varies, but we typically have anywhere from 40 to 70 racers,” Lehnertz said. Racers will be timed with stopwatches and the winners of the races will be announced later that day.
All proceeds of the races, including the registration fees and T-shirt purchases, goes toward a fund that helps Rollingstone residents through cancer treatment and other health problems.
“The reason I believe in this event is my daughter had cancer. When she had cancer some 30 years ago, the community held a fundraiser to help her out,” Lehnertz said.
According to Lehnertz, families and individuals can apply for money from the grant and receive up to $500 toward expenses including transportation to the hospital and food costs. While $500 is not much, Lehnertz said, providing for the community is something that Rollingstone has been doing for decades.
“Cancer is everywhere. I could write a book on all the people I know out in this area that have had cancer, died of cancer,” Lehnertz said. “It’s just everywhere. That $500, I know from experience it doesn’t touch the medication, but that little gift at that time helps out –– just so they know people are there for them and are backing them.”
The Rollingstone Roll-n-Stroll Cancer Walk will take place on Saturday, August 3, in Rollingstone City Park. Registration begins at 7 a.m.; however, those interested may also pre-register at various places throughout Rollingstone including city hall and Bonnie Rae’s Cafe. Registration costs $15 prior to the event, or $20 on the day of the race. Donations may also be made directly to the fund at city hall.
For more information on the Roll-n-Stroll fund or how to register for the races, contact Lehnertz at email@example.com or call 507-459-3632.