Earlier in June I had the distinct privilege of visiting Sutherland, Nebraska to attend the 2013 Cattlemen’s Ball as part of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Nebraska State Fair project. I was greeted in REAL Midwestern style by cattlemen on horses set against the backdrop of the beautiful Sand Hills.
The Cattlemen’s Ball is an annual event that brings together Nebraskan farmers, artists, volunteers, organizations and participants from all over the state to raise money for cancer research. Ninety percent of all fundraising proceeds go to our partner of 16 years, the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the rest go to the town hosting the event.
The Foundation supported our partner by helping staff the cancer education and screening booth. Together we brought fresh ideas on engaging booth participants about their health. Some of the booth features included:
- Free sunscreen packets and home-based colorectal cancer screening kits.
- Trivia questions that participants eagerly answered about how to reduce their risk for colon cancer. This was a great educational opportunity since the rate of getting colon cancer in Nebraska is higher than the national average.
- A Dermascan machine that showed visitors the damaging effects of the sun on our skin. Although the Dermascan does not screen for skin cancer, it was a great way to increase awareness about the importance of sun safety to several Nebraskans who work outdoors.
Since 1999, the Cattlemen’s Ball has raised over $6 million for health care research. This year over 4,000 people came out to enjoy the family-friendly festivities that included great food, a silent auction, a ranch rodeo, a truck raffle, hot air balloon rides and an entertaining concert by the country music band Lonestar.
It was truly a great experience to be part of the welcoming Nebraska community and to help support cancer awareness and research. During the Ball one individual came up to the screening booth and proudly announced that he had just finished his last treatment for colon cancer and that his doctor told him he was cancer free! What an inspiring story! A big thank you to our Nebraska partners for inviting me to be part of such a fantastic weekend!