Mar 31, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterRoughly 450 people attended the fourth annual fundraising dinner and dance.
Fremont County individuals and businesses at the fourth annual Cattle Baron's Ball opened their wallets to support their neighbors battling cancer. The event also celebrated residents who were a part of that fight.
"It's heartbreaking to know the impact cancer has on families," said Fremont County Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund committee member Teresa Nirider after the event. "On the other hand, it's heartwarming to see the compassion in our community for these folks."
She said the dinner March 16 was the largest so far.
"Each year is a little bigger," Nirider said.
Roughly 450 people attended the event at the Fremont Center at the Fremont County Fairgrounds. Organizers estimated they raised about $83,000 for the Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund and $32,000 for the Help for Health van.
The evening started with dinner, and included presentations about the two charities benefiting from the fundraiser.
The Fremont County Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund donates money to residents fighting cancer to help with expenses apart from their treatment.
Nirider explained the Tough Enough fund to the crowd.
"Sometimes we keep the lights on for people, we fill the propane tank, we make the house payment," Nirider said. "Thank you for making a difference for your friends and your neighbors."
She said several years ago when the organization started it gave $350 a year to cancer patients, but last year it was able to give $1,000 to each person.
The fund assisted 95 people battling cancer in 2012, giving more than $71,000 for travel expenses, $10,000 for housing expenses and $12,000 for travel costs.
The Help for Health van transports cancer patients from Fremont County to Casper for treatment. It is free and runs every weekday.
Last year, the van gave 861 rides to 35 Fremont County residents, making about 250 trips and driving about 111,000 miles.
Kid$ Being Tuff
Nirider also talked about the 12-year-old Riverton Middle School students who contributed to the Tough Enough Fund.
Speaking to attendees, Teresa Nirider said Hayden Wempen, Dillon Fabricus and James Hampton sold T-shirts to raise money for the Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund.
She said Hayden had lost his mother to breast cancer, and the boys wanted to help the local cancer charity.
"Their goal was $3,000," she said. "On Tough Enough night in August, they presented us with a check for $4,000."
Hayden said the idea started with his friend Dillon at the end of last school year.
"He took $800 out of his bank account to get us started," Hayden said.
That money paid to print T-shirts with a pink ribbon on the front and "Kid$ Being Tuff" on the back. The friends sold the shirts for several months at their school, the Fremont County Fair and at parks.
Hayden said after they paid Dillon back, they donated the rest of the money to the Tough Enough fund.
Four people who either fought cancer or helped someone who did received cancer hero awards. An anonymous committee chose the honorees from more than 100 nominations based on their inspiration to others in similar situations and on their individual stories.
The "In Memory" award, for a person who had cancer and died, went to DaLynn "Pie" Peter; Jennifer Titus took home the "Caregiver" award for someone who took care of a cancer patient, Paden Bundy won the "Child" award for a child who is or was battling cancer; and the award for an adult who is amid treatment or who survived cancer went to Bill Liss.
The organization also recognized other cancer survivors and caregivers who supported people fighting the disease and remembered loved ones who lost their battle.
Throughout the evening, attendees had many opportunities to make donations, including 10 raffles and auctions. After the program ended, Scott Gantenbein played drums and Carl Baxter sang and played the keyboard while guests danced.
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