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Letter: Community gives a lot

As the south Washington County community reflects back to the past year, I would like to thank you for some blessings I have noticed. We have provided numerous fundraisers for families in need. We continue to support Friends in Need Food Shelf and Stone Soup, two of our best treasures. We never lack to help each other, and at this time of year, we still continue our efforts. At our own church, St. Luke Lutheran, I saw so many Christmas gifts going to local community members, and globally through "Operation Christmas Child," counting 200 boxes.

Our giving as a community isn't limited to one time of year, though. In July of last year, when the first Cottage Grove Area Relay for Life was held we raised $16,000. As relay chair, along with our relay committee chairs, family and friends who helped and our first-year teams, including our sponsors Marathon Petroleum Co. (who had two teams), we counted our event a success! The bonding with our first year survivors and their families grew to more survivors in 2008, and our fundraising monies through more teams in 2008 raised our fundraising effort to over $60,000.

Thank you to our local sponsors: Anchor Bank, Mainstreet Bank, Marathon Petroleum, Cogentrix, HealthEast, Kohl's Woodbury and Applebee's. Thank you to Allianz, MOHPA, All Event Party Rental, our local fire and police departments, our local National Guard, District 833 and many, many community businesses who supported us through their giving of door prizes or silent auction items, or by being a part of our events at the relay evening. Many teams had sponsors: Curves, Doscoe Building Co., Interstate Power Systems, Karen's In the Park, Lindahl Family Dental, Metro Communications Services, Miller Orthodontics and The Gorman Center for Dentistry.

Not only fundraising for cancer, but supporting our family and friends through their trying times has always been a part of our life, just as many of you have shared in these projects. As a family, we have walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and seen the volunteers walking on the 3-day supporting the Susan G. Komen fundraising effort. Recognition of these fighters and survivors, and remembering those who lost their battle with cancer are etched in our hearts; we will continue to keep you all in our hearts.

We, the Seim family, will not be a part of the furture organization in the Cottage Grove Area Relay for Life, at least at this time. We will be looking for some other projects that we can support locally in the fight against cancer, a new venture that gives local control to our fundraising efforts. If you are interested in a new project, or have an idea, please email: or call (651) 459-0432.

Thank you to those who were a part of the Relay for our first two years -- team members, volunteers, businesses and community organizations -- you were the reason the relay was successful! Thank you to all the committee members, your hard work was a gift! Thank you to American Cancer Society, for their allowing this event to begin and grow, and wishing the event success in 2009! To the families of loved ones who lost their fight against cancer, and to the survivors who fought or continue to fight against this devastating disease, thank you. You give us all hope and inspiration. You give us a reason to add meaning to life, to support each other locally and globally, and reflect that we can make a difference in our community.

Natalie Seim, along with her family Max, Amanda, Molly and Caitlin

Cottage Grove