Heritage Days 2011: Cancer survivor to hold another quilt raffleAfter successfully raffling off a quilt during last year’s Heritage Days, a Knife River cancer survivor is back at it again this year, hoping to raise even more money for research and treatment of the rare chordoma cancer.
By: Brittany Berrens, Lake County News Chronicle
After successfully raffling off a quilt during last year’s Heritage Days, a Knife River cancer survivor is back at it again this year, hoping to raise even more money for research and treatment of the rare chordoma cancer.
Karen Hermanson raised $525 last year for the Chordoma Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to develop treatment for patients who suffer from the rare bone cancer that many doctors know so little about.
She will be stationed at the arts and crafts fair near the Depot and community center with dozens of others.
Hermanson was diagnosed with chordoma in 2005. It took four doctors to finally come up with a diagnosis and surgery to remove the tumor at the base of her spine. The average life expectancy for someone with chordoma is seven years. Hermanson has been cancer-free for five years and recognizes that a shortened life expectancy is a reality she has to face. “I just make every day special,” she said.
While the cancer is very rare, for every one million people there is one diagnosis, Hermanson feels that by bringing awareness to the disease, people can learn a bigger lesson. “Every person is a value,” she said. “Everyone counts and I hope people are willing to reach out to others.”
She said her experience during last year’s Heritage Days festival was encouraging. Not only did she raise the money, many people stopped by to share their stories of cancer survival. Hermanson said it was heartwarming. “It’s not just all about me, it’s about caring about others,” she said.
This year Hermanson was unable to finish this year’s quilt by herself. She suffered a heart attack in April. With the help of some friends and some last-minute stitching, a star-patterned quilt made with earth-colored fabric will be ready to raffle off at this year’s festival. Hermanson will be at booth 33 between the community center and the art workshop in downtown Two Harbors. Raffle tickets are $1 a piece and the winning ticket will be drawn around 5 p.m. Saturday.
For those who want to donate to chordoma research, but won’t be able to make it to Heritage Days for the raffle, Hermanson has set up a personal donation website with the goal of raising $1,000 this year for research. To donate online, visit www.chordomafoundation.org and search for Hermanson under the “chordoma champions” section in the “get involved” tab on the top banner of the site.