March 11, 2013
By Kevin Weedmark
These young people from Moosomin and Rocanville are organizing a fundraiser for Moosomin's Kevin Whelpton family. Kevin was recently diagnosed with cancer, and these students decided to organize a fundraiser for the family. From left are Dawson Davidson, Austin Johnston, Caleb Riess, Maddi Reed, and Paige Hutchinson. Missing is Ashley Simon, who is also helping to organize the event.
When word spread among a group of Moosomin and Rocanville students a week ago that a friend's father had been diagnosed with cancer, the students wasted no time in figuring out what they could do to help, and getting down to work.
On Feb. 27, Kevin Whelpton of Moosomin was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The students found out about the diagnosis Sunday.
By the end of the week, they had fundraising plans in place, including a benefit hockey game, a supper, a silent auction, a 50-50 draw, and t-shirt sales.
The supper and hockey game are set for Friday, March 22.
Maddi Reed of Rocanville is one of the organizers. "Steven (Whelpton) was texting me about his dad," she explains. "He told me he had gotten sick. I was texting Caleb Riess and Dawson Davidson. We decided we should do a hockey game, and from there it just grew."
"I contacted Mike Schwean and he donated the ice time and I contacted Paul Stapleton and he said the Senior Rangers would be willing to come play. Dan Davidson is the coach of the Melville Bantam AA hockey team. He was very helpful-he said said yes, Melville would be there playing."
The kids have got their parents involved. "The parents all stepped up," says Maddi. "Caleb's mom, my mom, Austin Johnston's mom and others all stepped up."
Before the hockey game there will be a roast beef supper at Moosomin Baptist Church, with sittings at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30.
The church is providing salads and dessert, and the youth group will be serving the meal.
The Moosomin Generals are organizing a silent auction. "I called Jason Schenn, and he said they would help," says Maddi.
"Jocelyn Willms will be organizing it, she will be the contact person for any silent auction items anyone wants to give. The items can be left at MNP, and they will be on display at the Co-op before the fundraiser, to give people a chance to bid."
And that's not all the students have planned.
"We ordered t-shirts," Maddi adds. "They are going to be here sometime next week. They say 'We Believe in the Power of Prayer' and they have the cancer symbol underneath. People can have them for a $20 minimum donation.
"Austin Johnston, Jayce Woods, Dawson Davidson, Drayson Skulmoski and Tom Kerkhoff are going to be selling them at McNaughton, and Paige Hutchinson, Caleb Riess and myself are going to be selling them in Rocanville School.
The t-shirts will aslo be avilable for purchase at the supper and hockey game, and at the Baptist Church.
The students are also organizing a progressive 50/50 draw, with the tickets sold in advance and the draw made on the night of the game. Maddi says Barb McGonigal has offered to split concession earnings at the rink that night. Admission to the game will be $5 for adults and $3 for those 10 and under.
Supper tickets are $15 apiece and will be available in advance only.
There will be only 100 tickets sold for each sitting.
Maddi says plans for the fundraiser have come together quickly because people have been willing to help.
"Everyone is really helpful," she says. "What I keep hearing is 'if you need anything else, let me know.' "
Why is she putting time into the fundraiser?
"Stephen is a really good friend of mine," she says. "We went to youth group together. He's a really nice person. The Whelptons are a really great family, Stephen is a good friend to everyone. They are always trying to help people. They're always there when you need them. We thought we would lend a hand back."
Caleb Riess of Rocanville is another of Stephen's friends who is helping with the fundraiser. He went to church with him, went to youth group with him, and played hockey with him.
"I think it's a good thing to do to help someone out," Caleb says. "If you have a problem, they'll help you out."
Austin Johnston of Moosomin is also a friend helping with the fundraiser. He played hockey with him and went to church with him.
"I'm friends with Steven and they're the kind of people, they're there as soon as you need them," he says. "I'm just trying to do the same for them."
Paige Hutchinson of Rocanville is helping with the fundraiser as well.
"I went to youth with Maddi because she invited me to go and I met Stephen there," Paige says.
"I only know them a little, but I want to help because things like this bring people together. You can help people."
Dawson Davidson of Moosomin is also helping with the fundraising effort.
"I want to help because my grandpa died of cancer and I know it's pretty hard to deal with something like that," he says. "Stephen's a friend of mine. He's in my grade, he's been in my class a few times, we've been on the same hockey team, we've always been friends. I've known him throughout my whole life, his dad would do renovation projects, would come and renovate our house.
"We've already had two people in our class lose their fathers to cancer."
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