A cancer diagnosis is infinitely heavier than that of a curling stone.
However, the two worlds will hit and roll this weekend when amateur curling teams take to the ice at the Hibbing Curling Club in an effort to raise money for folks in Northeastern Minnesota battling cancer.
It’s Angel Fund’s annual Rock for an Angel Flannelspiel and it kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Now in its eighth year, this usually sold-out event is open for anyone to watch, but curling is limited to 32 four-person teams. As of Wednesday, only four spots remained.
The event is set to feature lots of fun, laughter, games and raffles throughout the day.
“It’s a no-experience-necessary kind of event,” said Angel Fund President Kari Kilen. “There’s equipment available to use, too, if you don’t have any.”
Rock for an Angel is Angel Fund’s largest annual fundraiser and its impact is felt in the hearts of residents across Northeastern Minnesota who are battling cancer.
“Our giving area does not have specific boundaries,” Kilen said. “We have had applications that are kind of questionable (in terms of geography), but our board evaluates each one individually.”
Last year, Angel Fund provided $80,000 in financial assistance to 200 patients. This year, the board has reinstated gifting patients a second time, and an application is required.
“Under our current guidelines, we are able to gift $400 for the first request and up to $200 for a second request,” Kilen said.
Rock for an Angel committee members are hoping to raise $30,000 at this year’s event.
“The day is best summed up in one word: fun — whether an individual is on the ice or just hanging out. It’s always a high-energy atmosphere, and everyone is in such a positive mood,” said Angel Fund Vice President Kelly Grinsteinner. “It feels good knowing that we are all doing good by helping cancer-fighters battle.”
All event proceeds go directly to patients.
“Every gas card is a little bit of hope,” Grinsteinner said. “The more money raised, the more hope we can spread.”
Teams are encouraged to dress up.
“There’s no set theme to try to dress for,” Kilen said. “It doesn’t have to tie-in to the Flannelspiel theme. In the past, teams have dressed for breast cancer awareness and others have done things that are fun and silly.”
There will be just as much activity happening off the ice, with a variety of raffle prizes, games and other fun.
“Community support has been incredible,” Kilen said. “We’ve received great raffle items from Hibbing and Grand Rapids businesses. We’ll be raffling off gift cards for restaurants, hair salons and photographers as well as a leaf-blower, fire ring and tickets to a Minnesota Wild Game — just to list a few.”
Angel Fund was established in 2010 by the Women’s Innovative Network, a sub-committee of the Hibbing Area of Commerce. Led by an all-volunteer board, Angel Fund became its own 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2016.
“We provide financial assistance to anyone battling any type of cancer — men, women, all ages,” Kilen said. “Most of our assistance is in the form of gift cards to Holiday and Walmart. The cost of gasoline adds up fast if you’re driving to Hibbing five times a week for treatment and you live in Babbitt, and the Walmart gift cards is nice because patients can use it for food and Ensure.”
Kilen also noted that patients have used the Walmart cards for clothing when needed.
To date, Angel Fund has assisted more than 1,000 individuals. In 2015, it was named recipient of the Minnesota Department of Health Rural Health Team Award.
“When we go out to do solicitations, we still educate people a lot about what the Angel Fund does. It’s one of those things that you may not pay close attention to until you actually need it,” Kilen said. “… A lot of people don’t realize that we provide assistance to all Northeastern Minnesota cancer patients.”
To apply or donate, log on to www.angelfundrange.org. Donations can also be mailed to Angel Fund, P.O. Box 114, Hibbing, MN 55746. For up-to-date info, find Angel Fund on Facebook.