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Stories told, $41,000 raised at Relay for Life

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Lin Bentrup was this year's caregiver speaker at the Wadena County Relay for Life talking about her last months with her late husband, Dick Bentrup.1 / 3
[survivors walk] Cancer survivors walk their victory lap around the luminary-lined paths of Sunnybrook Park during the Wadena County Relay for Life Aug. 10. From left, Larry Hahn, Jim Haberer, Randy Maland, Ronnie Rehm and Randy Reimer.2 / 3
Madison Packer, left, and Lauryn Gravelle stand back as they release doves to fly around Sunnybrook Park. The girls wear ?Team Jane? shirts in support of Jane Fiemeyer undergoing cancer treatment. The birds are actually white homing pigeons and were from Dennis Imdieke and Wadena Medical Center.3 / 3

Nine teams raised more than $41,000 for the American Cancer Society last weekend.

Treasurer Janice Aagard said a total of $41,603.77 was raised at the 2012 Wadena County Relay for Life, which was held at Sunnybrook Park on Aug. 10.

Cancer survivors at the event had their names read off as they walked the first lap around the park.

Luminaries were placed around the trails in memory of people who have died from cancer, as well as those who have survived it.

Additionally, two individuals with cancer also had their stories told by caregivers.

Lin Bentrup, the 2012 caregiver speaker, talked about how her husband, Dick Bentrup, handled his situation after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2010.

"By God's design, I became Dick's caregiver," she said, adding that they had to come to terms with the fact that he was not only sick but was going to die.

Lin said her husband spent his remaining months fulfilling goals.

One special goal was to take Lin back to where they first met 45 years ago.

"Leave it to Dick to make a perfect situation out of a fatal situation," she said.

Her husband also attended family functions and holidays, even though he was given only a few months to live.

"Those four to eight months stretched to 15 months," she said.

Lin said caring for Dick was a privilege, and part of the vows from their wedding day.

Later in the evening, survivor speaker Jil Fiemeyer talked on behalf of her young daughter, who is still fighting cancer.

She said at last year's Relay, their family's day to day life was normal. But shortly thereafter, her daughter, Jane, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"I am tired of the horrors of cancer," Jil said.

Jil said Jane coped with illness by spending time in the hospital's play room, watching Nickelodeon and playing pranks on hospital staff.

Jil described Jane as a kind and strong "warrior princess," who stayed resilient through the ordeal.

"Our children are not to be pitied," she said.

In the spirit of Relay for Life, several other kids wore "Team Jane" T-shirts to show their support.