By Charlie Warner
“We feel it’s very important to make as many people aware of the damaging effects of the sun to unprotected skin and encourage everyone, young and old, to take the necessary precautions to keep from getting skin cancer. I’ve been a nurse for 17 years and really didn’t understand how serious this was until Tye’s battle with cancer. I now know so much more,” explained Marilyn Eiken of Mabel.
Eiken’s husband Tye succumbed to his long drawn out battle with cancer in March of 2015. In an effort to promote melanoma cancer awareness and raise money for the recently created Tye Eiken Scholarship Fund, the third annual Run From The Sun run/walk will be held Saturday, Aug. 12 in Mabel. Registration for the 5k/10k run/walk will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Mabel Community Center. Races will begin at 9 a.m.
The run/walk will be held in conjunction with Mabel’s 50s & 60s celebration, which will be held in downtown Mabel on Aug. 12.
“When the idea for a run/walk event in Tye’s name first came up, it was too soon after his death for me to get involved with it,” Eiken noted. “I thought it was a wonderful event that Carl (Westby) and others had come up with. And it has turned out to be very successful in promoting cancer awareness and raising money for the scholarship.”
The scholarship in Eiken’s name has allowed two graduating seniors from Mabel-Canton High School to receive $600 scholarships. Those applying for the scholarship are required to compose an essay on the dangers of melanoma cancer and the various precautions persons need to take to avoid the deadly disease. Deb Hershberger and Coranda Vickerman were the 2017 recipients.
In addition to the money raised each year at the run/walk, Eiken has also donated some of the money that was raised during the very successful community benefit that was held several years ago, for the scholarship fund.
“The outpouring of support for Tye from persons all around the area was incredible,” Eiken said, referring to the benefit. “I’m hoping that we can expand the scholarship fund to include students from some of the neighboring communities as well.
How it got started
“The 50s & 60s organization said that they’d like to add some more events to their celebration and mentioned a run/walk,” Westby explained. “My wife Stephanie works in the dermatology department at Gundersen Lutheran and felt more could be done to make people aware of just how serious skin cancer is. We lost a very good person when Tye lost his long battle to cancer. We decided this could be something to add to the 50s & 60s celebration.”
Westby and some of his friends and family decided to take the bull by the horns and organized the first annual Run From The Sun run/walk in 2015. They had 151 persons turn out for the event, which was quite impressive for the initial year. Last year’s event attracted 191 participants. Westby anticipates an even larger field of runners/walkers this year.
The Mabel Lions Club has also been involved in the event each year. They hold a pancake breakfast at the community center from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The local service group served up more than 200 meals in 2015 and exceeded that number last year. Westby said the Lions have donated more than $2,000 towards the cause the past two years.
To help with the awareness part of the event, nurse practitioners Joyce Meyer of the Mayo organization and Jessica Dutka of the Cresco Hospital, will be conducting skin screens. Utilizing a box with a UV light, the nurse practitioners will be able to determine if a person has sustained skin damage to a face from the sun. The skin screening is free.
The Lions Club has recently purchased an eye vision screening apparatus that can check vision in persons from six months and older. This screen will be free as well.
Face painting will be offered to the kids, as well as the young at heart. Face paintings will be done before, during and after the run/walk.
Another drawing card to the run/walk is the free bloody Mary and/or beer bar for all adult participants following the race. Terri Austin and Brenda Westby (Carl’s mother) team up to make a mean Bloody Mary and race participants raved over the Saturday morning cocktails the past two years, according to the younger Westby.
“This is kind of a family event for us,” Westby said. “Mom, Terri and some of her friends and our relatives donate the fixings for the bloody Marys and also the beer. We had a great turnout last year and it looks like we’re going to have an even bigger crowd this year.”
The 5k run/walk will begin at the Mabel Community Center and meander around Mabel. The 10k run/walk will also begin at the Mabel Community Center and run through Hesper and the picturesque countryside.
Registration is $30. Medals and other prizes will be awarded.
For more information, persons can contact Carl Westby at: [email protected]