The St. Charles North and St. Charles East drill teams came together on Saturday, Aug. 23 for their annual Kick-A-Thon Kickoff Event where they learned about the importance of giving back, and heard personal stories how the money they raise will help so many who have and continue to fight cancer.
Hearing the personal stories brought tears to many in the room, including heartfelt applause, as these cancer survivors ultimately found the strength and courage to continue speaking and share their stories.
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The teams walked away united in taking the next step to go out into the community and begin asking for donations so they can help make an impact in helping "kick" cancer away.
This year's speakers included Kari Batka, director of Kick-A-Thon advisory board, who 21 years ago simply wanted to help a friend and colleague who was diagnosed with cancer. They raised a modest amount of money at the time. She has now watched the program grow to where it is today.
Also speaking and sharing their personal stories were Lori Hansen, a two-time cancer survivor who now works and helps patients at LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, as well as current North High School student Lindsey Panozzo, who was diagnosed only two years ago. Their courage is remarkable.
Other speakers sharing their stories of how cancer has touched them in some way were St. Charles Mayor Raymond Rogina, coaches Nancy Prentiss of North High School and Hanna Byington of East High School, as well as East High School principal Charlie Kyle.
The morning included information and stories from representatives of the beneficiaries of Kick-A-Thon, including Tonda Thompson from the American Cancer Society, Lori Hansen from LivingWell, and Mary Fremgen of Fox Valley Food For Health. They expressed how thankful they are to be a part of such a wonderful event.
Kick-A-Thon is an annual fundraiser at which the drill teams raise money in order to help put an end to cancer. Each drill team member is paired up with a member of the community to raise money to be given to the American Cancer Society, the LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, and new this year, Fox Valley Food for Health.
On the night of Kick-A-Thon, the drill team members and the community representatives form a kick line and do 100 kicks to "kick cancer." In the past 20 years, the drill teams have been able to donate more than $770,000. The Kickoff event helps to inspire the drill teams, their kickers, and their families. It reminds us all about the personal rewards we gain from giving back.
The St. Charles drill teams are very proud of the $100,000 donation they gave last year. Their goal is to raise even more this year to help these important organizations who make such a huge impact in the lives of those struggling with this terrible disease.
Join the drill teams for this year's Kick-A-Thon on Friday, Oct. 17, at the St. Charles North stadium between the junior varsity and varsity football games to support the community and help in the fight against cancer.
For more information, or to donate, please go to kick-a-thon.org. Be a "Community Super Fan" and join them for a fun-filled night.