Cavalier County resident and farmer Julie Byron directed $2,500 to the Cavalier County Cancer Crusaders through America’s Farmers Grow Communities, sponsored by the Bayer Fund. Celebrating its 10th year, America’s Farmers Grow Communities partners with farmers to support nonprofit organizations that strengthen rural communities. The program offers farmers the chance to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit of their choice. It has awarded more than $33 million to over 8,000 nonprofits across rural America.
By Melissa Anderson
“A better life is Bayer’s goal. Farmers are invested in their communities, they root for their neighbors, and they know when and where there is a need,” Al Mitchell, Vice President Corporate Engagement of Bayer, said. “Farmers are one of America’s best resources, which is why Grow Communities partners with them to direct donations to the organizations they are passionate about and that make a positive impact and a better life in communities.”
Byron first discovered the chance to direct $2,500 to a local organization through a postcard she received in the mail. Entering to win the money for her county was easy as she simply returned the postcard.
“Winning the Bayer Crop Science ‘America’s Farmers Grow Communities’ came as quite a surprise,” Byron said. “As with most phone calls you receive saying ‘you have won’, you instantly think it is a scam, so I ignored it.”
It was Byron’s husband who ultimately ensured that the money Byron had won for the county was received, calling her at work and asking her to call the company representative back.
“Much to my surprise, it was a legitimate phone call, and I actually had won the money,” Byron recalled.
With the ability to gift $2,500 to an area nonprofit, all Byron had to do was pick one. This turned out to be slightly challenging as Byron was unsure of what nonprofits were located in Cavalier County. Like so many people do when unsure of something, Byron turned to the search engine of Google to find the nonprofit deserving of the donation. The Cavalier County Cancer Crusaders popped up.
“I hadn’t ever heard of this organization, so I thought I better check into it. I contacted my sister-in-law, Dawn Christianson, and she assured me that it was a great organization giving back to many of our cancer patients in Cavalier County,” Byron said.
The Cavalier County Cancer Crusaders (CCCC) is a locally created nonprofit organization that came about following the dispersal of the American Cancer Society events only a few years ago.
“I instantly knew this is where I wanted the money to go. So many families are affected by cancer throughout our communities, and I don’t think we can help them enough,” Byron said.
The CCCC board is composed of President Kathy Muhs, Vice President Runa Anderson, Secretary Jessica Tank, and Treasurer Mickey Cain. Other members within the nonprofit organization include: Betty Coyle, Adrian Olson, and Gwen Witzel.
“We were delighted to get that amount of money- is an understatement. It was a huge surprise, and we are very appreciative,” Kathy Muhs said.
Muhs was notified in early April that the CCCC had been nominated by Byron to receive the donation. Over the past few years, CCCC has received donations from area organizations, businesses and through their own efforts of fundraising.
“Since we rely on donations and fundraisers as our source of income, to get that large of an amount….I, like Julie, thought it was a scam,” Muhs stated.
Since its creation in late 2017, the CCCC has assisted approximately 60 families that have been given the heartbreaking diagnosis of cancer. The efforts of the group help provide a small amount of monetary support as those diagnosed go through the treatments and battle of their very lives.
“For me it’s extremely important. I have experienced it first hand from my own son having cancer. It’s been a passion of mine. Every family, it seems, has been touched by cancer. It’s a devastating diagnosis and journey. It’s expensive and an emotional journey,” Muhs shared.
There are several ways for residents and former residents to assist the CCCC in their efforts. From volunteering to more donations, the CCCC asks for more community involvement both personal and business. Some of the more successful fundraisers that could always use helping hands are the spring and fall rummage sales and other efforts held in between.
“If we can help each and every family having to go through this unfortunate circumstance, I think it is a ‘win’ for all of us,” Byron shared.
Another way to assist the CCCC in their efforts is to nominate a recipient. If you know someone in the county that has cancer, you want to volunteer your time or you want to donate to the Crusaders, go see Cain at Choice Financial Bank or call her at (701) 256-3479 or call Muhs at (701) 256-3342. President Muhs also asks that Cavalier County residents pass the word around about her group. “Let people know and get involved.”