Appreciation event Saturday intended for club members, supporters of annual Cancer TelethonIn the past decade, the 5th District Eagles has given nearly $1.2 million to The Hormel Institute for cancer research, including a little more than $1 million since 2003.
   Donated funds from the annual Eagles Cancer Telethon – hosted every January in Rochester – are vital to The Hormel Institute’s ongoing research to find nontoxic, natural compounds that can be used to prevent, control and cure cancer.
   On Saturday, The Hormel Institute is hosting an Appreciation Celebration from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate the hard work, outstanding success and great contributions by 5th District Eagles members as well as everyone who supports the Cancer Telethon. This past January was the 56th annual Eagles Cancer Telethon, which raised nearly $750,000 for cancer research in Minnesota, benefiting The Hormel Institute as well as Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center.
   It’s the country’s longest, locally run telethon – collecting its donations from numerous events, including golf, pool and softball tournaments; scrapbooking events; and pancake breakfasts.
Since 1999, the Eagles Cancer Telethon has raised about $1.2 million for The Hormel Institute’s cancer research, including $135,000 in January 2010. That all goes directly to cancer research.
   “We are deeply thankful to the 5th District Eagles for their dedication to raising funds for cancer research and all who support the telethon,” said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute. “Each of these people is a partner in our research, and their important contribution makes a difference. On Saturday they will see the technology – the cancer fighting tools – their funding provides. Together we are finding answers to prevent cancer.”
   Robert Callier, a Rochester resident and Eagles leader, has led the telethon for 52 years. Callier has served as the telethon’s director and chief executive officer since 1985, and will be recognized with the rest of the 5th District Eagles organization Saturday by The Hormel Institute for this outstanding financial support.
“It’s been a great ride,” said Callier, who remembers the telethon’s early years of being broadcast in black and white on TV with only a few microphones and cameras.
Callier relates much of the telethon’s success to people knowing where their donations will go and that it’s for cancer research done locally. This upcoming Monday will be the kickoff meeting for organizers to start putting together the 57th annual Eagles Cancer Telethon, he said.
   Among the telethon’s regular supporters is the Lyle Area Cancer Auction, just south of Austin, which raised $119,000 in January as part of its 31st annual event to support the Cancer Telethon. In those three decades, the Lyle Area Cancer Auction has raised more than $1 million for cancer research.
Minnesota’s 5th District of the Fraternal Order of Eagles includes the cities of Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Farmington, Mankato, Owatonna, and Rochester.
The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic Research Partner, is a world-renowned cancer research center with 11 departments and 130 faculty and staff.