by Dennis Dalman
“Tackle Cancer” will be the name of the game when the Sartell Sabre football team takes on the Park Center Pirates at the Oct. 18 at-home game in Sartell.
The game will be a fundraiser for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, which supports the cancer causes in Minnesota by funding research, promoting prevention and treatment, and supporting other programs to help fight cancer.
The “Tackle Cancer” game in Sartell is co-sponsored by St. Cloud Financial Credit Union, which has a branch in Sartell, and by St. Cloud Subaru.
At the Oct. 18 game, spectators can “pass the helmet” before the game and during half-time. People can then donate cash or checks to the cause; there will also be items for sale.
Scores of “Tackle Cancer” football games are played throughout the state during the months of September and October.
The tradition began with Randy Shaver, KARE 11 television sports reporter and news co-anchor, who joined KARE 11 in 1983. In 1998, Shaver was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of cancer. Five years later, he started the “Tackle Cancer” fundraising events. Fortunately, Shaver’s cancer went into remission. But in 2019, he received another grim diagnosis: prostate cancer. He beat that back too with effective treatments.
After that cancer was declared to be in remission, Shaver wrote the following words on Facebook: “So I got great news today – my prostate-cancer treatments worked and my cancer is gone! It was a long nine-month journey, but I’m officially 2-for-2. It’s the best feeling ever. Thank you to all who made it possible.”
Shaver and others were determined to help in the fight against cancer and in 2003 formed the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, including its “Tackle Cancer” events at football games. In the past 11 years, the organization has raised $3 million in donations at “Tackle Cancer” games. This year’s goal is to raise $500,000 through such games. Last year, those games, in total, raised $473,000. The organization also has many other kinds of fundraising events. All told, with all fundraisers included, the organization has raised a grand total of $6 million.
More than 140 high schools in the state hold at least one “Tackle Cancer” game per football season. Typically, for the games many participants wear pink clothing or T-shirts, a symbol of “pinking out cancer.”
To donate funds, google the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund. Click on that, then on the top bar will be a “Donate” button. Click on that.