The weather was beautiful (if just a bit sticky); a great night to come together at Rein in Sarcoma's 16th "Party in the Park." Over 1,200 people attended from at least ten states. It was an evening full of experiences that delighted and moved attendees, while raising over $90,000 (> $68,000 net) to further our work in sarcoma research, patient and family support and raising awareness through education. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to the event's success! The evening for many began with our annual sarcoma family picnic, sponsored by D'Amico Catering, attended by over 460 sarcoma survivors, loved ones and those directly touched by sarcomas. It closed at dusk with lighted luminaries, beautiful music and fire dancing.
The Party in the Park was presented by Walser Subaru with key additional support from the Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota Cancer Care, Ergodyne, Building Arts and D'Amico's Catering. The evening "Party" provided many opportunities for fun and education: Carousel rides, entertainment on two stages, a wonderful Children's Arcade, a Silent Auction - with new mobile bidding, face painting, the "Sarcoma Garden of Hope", and "Sarcoma Corner". Many participants were moved by the experience of reading sarcoma stories in the beautiful setting of the Centennial Garden.
Highlights of the 16th Annual Party in the Park and Sarcoma Family picnic included:
Sarcoma Family Picnic
With great weather, over 460 people attended the picnic: sarcoma patients, survivors, loved ones and those who have lost a loved one to sarcoma. Picnickers were able to mingle with doctors and researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic and Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota with wonderful meals provided and donated by D'Amico Catering.
Julie and Bruce Seiber headed up a flawless team of volunteers who organized the picnic among the splendor of Sunflower bouquets donated by Ruth and Dale Bachman and arranged by Maryann Duke. At the end of the picnic the ever popular "Dirty Shorts Brass Band" entertained the crowd and led them "New Orleans" style up the hill to the Party in the Park.
The opening program, sponsored by the University of Minnesota, exemplified the uniqueness of this year's Party in emphasizing the stories of sarcoma patients and survivors. Our key corporate sponsors were recognized and thanked including Walser-Subaru, the University of Minnesota Cancer Care, the Mayo Clinic, Ergodyne, D'Amico Catering, Building Arts, and Minnesota Oncology.
Director of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the University of Minnesota, Dr Brenda Wiegel introduced doctors and researchers from the U of M, Mayo Clinic, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Region Hospital (HealthPartners).
Minnesota's own Kat Perkins, a runner up on the Voice performed the opening number Fire Works by Katy Perry. It truly was a great beginning to a wonderful evening. She closed the opening program with the very inspiring This is My Fight Song which is an anthem for many Sarcoma Patients. Kat proved to be gracious as well as talented posing for pictures with party attendees all evening.
Chelsey Olafson told her story of her sarcoma journey. Although each journey is different Chelsey represented all the survivors at the event in her emotional and honest telling of what a fight with sarcoma entails.
After Chelsey spoke the survivors and their doctors had the first ride on the beautiful Cafesjian's Carousel cheered on by their families.
Mark Wehner, the beloved retired Osseo Wisconsin school teacher and six time sarcoma survivor brought the opening program to a moving close with an encore presentation of his song Campfire Blues. Mark related his story of endurance and courage to the audience riveted to both his story and song. Learn more about Mark, and download Campfire Blues which benefits Rein in Sarcoma.
Tribute Carousel Ride for Sarcoma survivors
Always one of most meaningful parts of the Party is the first ride on Cafesjian's Carousel which is reserved for sarcoma patients, survivors, sarcoma doctors and researchers. The crowd roared and cheered on the 50 plus sarcoma survivors as they road the carousel to "rein in sarcoma"!
Children and Family Activities
Family fun is a hallmark of the Party in the Park and this year's Party continued that grand tradition including:
The Children’s Arcade - Dozens of new and returning games delighted and honed the skills of participants of all ages. The Bounce House continued to be a huge hit.
Face Painting - Kids of all ages became the pallet for works of art by our highly talented face painters.
Sarcoma Garden of Hope - Thanks to the ongoing support of Elphis Enterpises dozens of wonderful bird House were made and other craft projects created
Family Stage - Jerry Wenzel a retired science teacher presented and amazed his audience with “It’s not Magic- It’s Science” with his grandson, Genesis, a Ewings sarcoma survivor assisting him..
The beautiful Centennial Garden was the setting for our transformed Sarcoma Corner, which provided the stories of hope from sarcoma survivors and honored the memories of those lost to sarcoma. In this beautiful setting attendees could learn about our educational programs at the Red Flags of Sarcoma exhibit and meet our 2016-17 Sarcoma Scholars. The 5th Edition of the RIS Sarcoma Patient Starter Notebook was there for patients and families to look at and request if they had not received one from their doctor. Many of the attendees used this beautiful setting to sit a minute and reflect among the beautiful flowers and the relative quiet.
Ring Toss: A fun game of "skill" was so popular that it actually ran out of wine, liquor and pop before the closing. Has the sarcoma community been practicing their tossing skills? Maybe we will have to make it harder next year or get more wine.
The Silent Auction experienced major changes this year - going to a mobile bidding software. This allowed pre-event online bidding, at event mobile bidding, self-service check-in and check-out. We heard lots of positive feedback on the mobile bidding experience and the quick, efficient check-out. Hundreds of bids from RIS supporters raised over $14,000 to cure sarcoma cancers! Our thanks to Jason Patalonis, Chris Howard, Lysa Pascale and Laura Gossett who led a dedicated and tenacious team of Auction volunteers and donors. And our thanks to Matt Burnell of ClickBid for his fantastic support before, during and after our event.
Closing Program and Ceremony
Sponsored by University of Minnesota Cancer Care and Hosted by Dr. Brenda Weigel.
Dr. Katie Dusenbery introduced the three University of Minnesota 2016-2017 Maudlin Scholars and Dr. Scott Okuno introduced the two new Mayo Maudlin Scholars.
Kat returned to the stage to sing I'm Alive. Before and after the reading of the names of the people honored by family and friends with luminaries, Kat performed Fearless. Chelsea Kennedy and Dexter Bingham read the names in a moving moment for everyone. Kat returned to accompany the Fire Dancers to end the evening with a performance of the upbeat Dancing in the Stars and Proud Mary. Kat's talent and warm personality added a lot to the evening.
Pete Wyckoff and Brenda Weigel dedicated four new RIS Named Funds telling the remarkable sarcoma stories of each of these individuals: The Nicole Anderson Fund, The Lora Holmquist Fund, the Perry Ford Fund and the Jake Martell Fund. In addition, seventeen continuing named funds were recognized with candles in honor of each of these persons placed in the ever expanding RIS Luminary wall. Click here to learn more about RIS Named Funds and the persons honored.
Celebrating a Grand Tradition
With its 16th annual Party in the Park, Rein in Sarcoma held high Karen's vision of education, patient support, and finding cures for sarcoma cancers so in her words, "no child would need to go to chemo instead of kindergarten." Our thanks to the over 200 Party in the Park volunteers and volunteer manager, Nancy Hendrickson, and the incredible work of the the Clemens Family in coordinating and orchestrating the logistics of this amazing evening.
2016 Party in the Park Slideshow
Our great thanks to our 2106 Party photographers: Karen Eckman. Ron Eggert, Taylor Dale, Val Lopez and Marty Turner. Relive the Picnic and Party and download your favorites.