With her son Steve a leukemia survivor, Cherokee native Rhonda (File) Vredenberg has long been actively involved in working for and raising funds and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The "Man, Woman, Celebrity of the Year" is the LLS signature event since 1990 and this year, Rhonda Vredenberg has been nominated for Iowa Woman of the Year. Aware of her countless hours dedicated to LLS, friends and family of Rhonda's are rallying to support her nomination.
The "CURE - Find it in Cherokee" Committee has scheduled an auction and dance Saturday, April 17, at the Brightside Lounge in Cherokee from 7 p.m. to midnight. The auction will start at 9 p.m., with Don Pitts the auctioneer. All auctioned items - and there are many with more still coming in - are donated by local businesses and individuals, with proceeds benefiting LLS.
A meal of ham sandwiches, chips and beans will be offered and guest speaker at the event is Steve Ellens - Rhonda's son and a leukemia survivor now in remission.
Tax deductible donations can be made to any of the committee organizers, or to Cherokee State Bank, with checks payable to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Members of the Cherokee committee include Sheila Schossow, Cherie Holton, Patty Brown, Karla Lundy, Nancy Nelson, Rhonda Vredenberg, Deb Halder, Penny Christensen, Karen Benson, and Denise Green.
For the price of a ticket, there will be fabulous door prizes awarded throughout the night at the auction and dance at the Brightside.
Among some of the great prizes to be awarded are a one-week stay in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. coinciding with the Orange Bowl football game, an R.J. Thomas picnic table, a six-month family membership to the Cherokee Wellness Center, eight hours free labor from Nelson Electric, a quilt from Quilt & Kaboodle, Chuck Noble pottery, Vera Bradley purse from the General Store, Holton Signs banners, Sioux City Explorers Baseball package, professional sports memorabilia, 6-month subscription to the Chronicle Times, Hawkeye and Cyclone lighted signs, target shooter and deer knives set, Dale Earnhart signed collector's knife, packages of steaks, Radio Shack 3-D glasses, overnight stays in Sioux City including lodging, meals, and theater, and many, many more fantastic prizes too numerous to mention.
The Grand Finale Celebration for the LLS "Man, Woman, Celebrity of the Year" is scheduled for The Meadows in Altoona on May 15. This year's emcee is Paul Rhodes, Iowa State University football coach.
"Obviously, the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society is a huge part of my life and I need to do what I can, with the help of so many others, to raise funds necessary for research and treatment therapies," said Vredenberg, the daughter of Ken and the late Byrla File of Cherokee.
"Steve is my inspiration, truly he is! He is living with leukemia, the very least I can do is give my all to help raise money for the cause. I pray he stays in remission and hopefully, one day, we will find a cure for him and so many others living with blood cancers. A fact I've learned, sadly, is that every 10 minutes someone dies as a result of blood cancer. Research needs to continue in order to find better treatment options and ultimately, a cure.
"I've got an awesome committee working with me in Cherokee! There have been many families in Cherokee and surrounding areas that have been touched by blood cancer. Many of those families will be participating in this fund-raiser. I personally have found such support, both emotionally and financially, in my northwest Iowa roots. To each of these people I extend my most grateful thanks. Your prayers, thoughts and unending support have touched me so often over the past eight years. I truly believe God placed each of you there for me and for my family.
"It is now time for me to step up to the challenge Steve gave me, that of running for Woman of the Year."
The LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer, its mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease and myeloma, and improve the lives of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year is a national 10-week campaign to raise funds to help find cures for blood cancers. The candidates have this amount of time in which to raise as much money as possible for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The May 15th gala event in Altoona is a fun evening to be had by all attending, with silent and live auctions held throughout the evening, a great meal, inspirational stories shared, and some pretty "big" names attending, either as honorary chair or running for Celebrity of the Year, including Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson of West Des Moines.
At the conclusion of the evening it will be announced which candidates have raised the most dollars during the campaign.
"Together, we can and will make a difference!" exclaimed Rhonda.
"To my committee, friends, family and the city of Cherokee, and surrounding areas....thank you for help in supporting this cause. I am fortunate to have been raised in a community such as this. We have quite a "team" here in NW Iowa!"
The energetic goal for this LLS fund-raising campaign is $300,000. In 2009, the event generated more than $200,000 for LLS research.
For more information about LLS visit www.lls.org.