Lift Truck Specialists team members have been around the Relay for Life track for several years now, and always seem to have high spirits and high expectations.
Their optimism and love of life are addicting to anyone who gets within ear shot of them. With numbers for Relay for Life in New London coming down from an all time high of $268,000 in 2004, to under $100,000 last year, this team remains undaunted.
“Numbers will go up and go down, but cancer still needs to be cured,” says Veryl Diem, member of the Lift Truck Specialists Relay for Life team. “We have to keep pushing forward.” Diem started out on a Curwood team years ago. Her friends and family have all been affected by cancer. “I lost my mother, my brother-in-law and an aunt all in one year from cancer.”
Being on a Relay team is Diem’s way of fighting back. “I made something positive out of these tragedies, and I am proud to be a part of the Lift Truck team today.”
Team Bach member Charlie Bach says of the Lift Truck Specialist team, “Their ideas for fundraising are amazing, and they go-go-go year round, being cheerleaders and go-getters for the cause. They are selfless and truly make a difference.”
Bach said when he first heard about Relay for Life he was happy to give monetarily, but didn’t really get involved. But then he, too, was struck by cancer. “My neighbor John Wieneke told me I had to get involved and fight back. That’s all it took for me.”
Bach says each April he sends out “begging” letters and each year he is astounded at the response he gets. He single handedly raised over $2,200 last year. “I believe, like Lift Truck Specialists and other teams do, that you can’t just give up and give in. You have to keep fighting. We are still fighting, and because of all our continued efforts the cancer researchers are finding better treatments for everyone.”
Adrienne Runge is a Lift Truck team member whose family has been affected by cancer. She started on a Hillshire team over 12 years ago. “I love hearing stories of survival and I am touched when I talk with family members of survivors. It gives me a good feeling knowing I am doing a good thing.”
Another Lift Truck team member, Sue Wolfe says her father is a two-time survivor of cancer. She lost her mother to breast cancer. Wolfe was on the St. Joseph team for years, and has now over 15 years in the Relay. “I can’t believe it’s been that long, but I suppose it has. We just keep having fun and the money comes in. We enjoy the process of helping out.”
Vicki Handschke is a Lift Truck team member who loves helping out with their year-round events. “A big event of ours is the Motorcycle Rodeo at Bean City each year. I am a survivor, and I come from a large family of women who I want to fight for.”
The ninth annual Biker Rodeo is scheduled for May 28 this year, and bikers or non-bikers can register to participate in games that challenge their riding skill and/or sense of humor, while helping the Lift Truck team reach their fundraising goals. “It’s a hoot,” says Sue Wolfe. “Every year we come up with something new, and it’s grown quite a bit. Lots of people like to come out and watch the fun.”
The team also started a golf outing last year at Shamrock Heights. This year’s outing is scheduled for Aug. 27. They have raffle prizes and contest prizes, so once again you may have to make a fool out of yourself, all for helping to find a cure for cancer.
Team Lift Truck Specialists invites everyone out to their events. They all would like to see new Relay teams forming and old Relay teams regrouping for a new push to support finding a cure.