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Published March 26, 2012, 11:30 PM

Group turns heartache into hope

All three Hankinson women are turning their heartache into hope by raising money for the Hankinson organization, Cares for Cancer.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

If you go

What: Cares for Cancer fundraiser

Where: Hankinson, N.D., American Legion, 109 1st St. SW

When: 4:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Live auction starts at 7:30 p.m.

Contact: Jaime Krump at 701-899-0682 or Tara Steffens at 701-899-0216.

HANKINSON, N.D. – Jaime Krump took care of her grandmother before she died of bone cancer in 1996.

Just this year, her cousin, Tara Steffens, lost her grandfather to cancer.

Their good friend, Karly Steinwehr, has watched many friends and family members go through chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

All three Hankinson women are turning their heartache into hope by raising money for the Hankinson organization, Cares for Cancer.

Krump and Steffens started the organization six years ago after chairing a local Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and learning that community members wanted their dollars to stay closer to home.

“I’m sure every community is like this, but we have been hit so hard with cancer in our small little community,” Krump said.

Cares for Cancer raises money for Riveredge Hospice in Breckenridge, Minn. The organization also recently became a tax-exempt nonprofit and is donating money to families with any type of medical needs within a 30-mile radius of Hankinson.

The group has $2,000 to give out each month in $250 increments to those who apply and qualify.

“We’re just trying to help people pay their bills,” Krump said.

The organization holds one major fundraiser, which includes dinner, an auction and raffles, each year. There are also several smaller fundraising events throughout the year.

“The surrounding communities have supported us in ways we can’t believe,” Steffens said. “The support has been overwhelming.”

Last year’s fundraiser brought in almost $26,000, Krump said.

“Our community has just been unbelievable to us,” she said. “Everybody knows somebody who has cancer. It affects everybody in some way.”

This year’s event is Saturday at the American Legion Hall in Hankinson.

“Every year it just seems to grow and amaze us more and more with the amount of people who come out and their generosity,” Steffens said. “It’s a very emotional night.”

Dinner is $12 and consists of a choice of chicken or steak and side dishes. Items up for auction or raffle include an iPad, a Kindle, an Xbox, homemade doll houses, and a Bison quilt signed by the 2012 championship football team.

If the fundraiser brings in at least $5,000, Steinwehr will shave her head for the cause. She is the fourth person to shave her head for Cares for Cancer, but the first woman to volunteer.

“It’s kind of a big thing for me,” she said. “I’ve had so many friends and family members who have gone through chemo. I have a co-worker going through it right now, so to be able to do this to raise some money to be able to give that back to the community and surrounding communities, it’s the least I can do.”

Steinwehr will also donate her hair, which is about 14 or 15 inches long, to Locks of Love, a public nonprofit that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

Because she works in a bank where she deals with the public daily, Steinwehr plans to wear a wig after shaving her head and when her hair grows out, she will donate her wigs, too.

“The day of, I’m going to be an emotional wreck, but it’s not because I’m losing my hair, it’s the reasons I’m doing it,” she said.