Saturday was a day hundreds gathered in Wadena's Tapley Park to be very Jane-like.
Jane Fiemeyer, the girl who had the idea for a Princess Warrior 5K in the weeks before her death due to leukemia, had a dream to find a cure for cancer so others didn’t have to be in pain. And because of her big dreams, a great deal of money, awareness and gratefulness was brought to those attending the annual event under gorgeous sunny skies.
According to Jil Fiemeyer, Jane's mom and main organizer of the Princess Warrior event, final numbers were still being tallied and would likely be released in another couple weeks. The committee was confident it would be similar to the past few years, which have been enough to give abundantly to those in need.
Fiemeyer said the climate of the event was especially powerful.
"People were in a good mood, there just seems to be more and more people that want to be a part," Fiemeyer said.
She saw in one child exactly what Jane wanted the event to be. Perham kindergartner Taylor Johnson, one of the area children battling cancer, who was honored that morning, had a smile that spread to all those who saw hers.
"She is the epitome of a little girl that lives no matter what," Fiemeyer said.
The crowds were able to draw from her smile then hear an inspiring story from 2013 WDC graduate Jake Krause, who fought his own battle with stage-4 Hodgkin lymphoma in college.
"My life took a turn, but in all honesty it's probably one of the best things that ever happened to me," Krause said. Krause went on to explain how he gained a new appreciation for life that he never understood before cancer struck him.
"As of three months ago, I've been five years healthy," Krause shared to a cheering crowd.
Just before the crowds were off to the races, they heard from Miss Minnesota Kathryn Kueppers, who has her own platform devoted to children education. She shared how much she grew from being involved in these community events.
"My own mom had cancer when I was younger and she's 10 years in remission," Kueppers said. "It's really life changing to watch someone go through that or to go through it yourself. The fact that you are all here today in honor of this cause is awe inspiring."
Off the stage were about 75 volunteers from cheering princesses on the sidelines, to food servers and makers, carnival helpers, race coordinators and emergency personnel on hand in case they were needed. They all worked together to ensure that Jane and other children taken by cancer would not be forgotten.
"I'm just still so overwhelmed," Fiemeyer said of the community response. "It's just so awe inspiring, it humbles me to see this event continue to grow and grow."
The funds from this event go to prepare care packages for those going through childhood cancer; it provides a scholarship through Wadena-Deer Creek School District to one graduating senior; it funds a grant program that anyone going through childhood cancer can apply for. Other funds may be used to support benefits for families of children with cancer. The funds also go to support several kids each year that are fighting a battle with cancer.
Fiemeyer encourages the region to reach out to the Princess Warrior committee if they know someone with childhood cancer that could benefit from the organization not only through monetary support but from the emotional support from people who have dealt with the cancer bully before.
To find out more call Jil Fiemeyer at 218-640-7906, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Princess Warrior Facebook page.