Wahpeton Family Experiences the Worst of Humanity and the Best of Humanity Amidst Cancer Diagnosis

Connie Petermann has never been one to rely on others or easily accept help. That’s why when an acquaintance wanted to hold a benefit for Connie’s 16 year-old son Jacob, who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma, she respectfully declined. The acquaintance then came back a couple weeks later and told Connie that several people want to do this for the Petermann family, they would handle all of the details, and they would really like Connie’s blessing to move forward. Connie relented and plans were put in motion. The benefit consisted of a basketball tournament, jambalaya feed, silent auction, and bake sale. It lasted all day and there was never a dull moment.

After the benefit, a small amount of money was handed over to Connie from the bake sale and silent auction, but the majority of funds were never turned over. Connie contacted the person who coordinated the benefit and only received excuses and delays. After a period of time, a community member contacted the Wahpeton Police Department, who then started an investigation. The police investigation has not reported an amount of money that is missing, but has said that it is believed to be “significant.” Connie looks back on it and realizes she should have seen red flags. The woman who approached her was a person that Connie didn’t know well, yet the woman was so insistent on helping the family. “That’s what makes this so hurtful,” said Connie. “I prayed for weeks that this was just a mix-up and the money would be there. I never dreamed someone could be so evil as to steal from a sick child.”

When word spread about what had happened to the Petermann family, Connie was surrounded by a community of people whose intentions were pure and they were determined to right the wrong that had been done. The Wahpeton community did a drive to raise some of the missing funds and unbelievably raised $13,000 in just three hours! With the support of their community and the police department now handling the investigation, the Petermanns are able to focus on what is most important; fully supporting Jacob and his needs. Jacob is looking forward to a clear check-up in December when the family again goes to Minneapolis for x-rays and scans. Jacob’s biggest hurdle going forward is learning to walk with his new prosthetic. It is an ottobock c-leg with a microprocessor in the knee to help with a person’s own unique gait. With delays due to unexpected surgeries, receiving the prosthetic is an important step in his recovery process. In September and October, Jacob had two lung surgeries to remove nodules. Learning to walk with the prosthetic is the number one goal at this point because it will give Jacob much more freedom and confidence. As any teenager does, Jacob just wants to return to being an independent, young adult. This includes suiting up as number 34 for the Wahpeton Huskies basketball team. Have a fun and successful season, Jacob! And most importantly, a healthy one.

Basin Electric supporting Brave the Shave in its first independent year

Eleven years ago, Basin Electric supported a head-shaving event to raise money for a national pediatric cancer research organization. Throughout the years, it has grown by leaps and bounds, moving from the board room at Basin Electric’s headquarters to a packed event at the Bismarck YMCA and beyond Bismarck to locations across North Dakota, South Dakota, and even into Wyoming.

The focus of support has expanded over the years, moving away from solely childhood cancer research to a more local approach with the start of the Brave the Shave Family Fund, which supports area families with the many added expenses that accompany a childhood cancer diagnosis, while continuing support for research.

This year, Brave the Shave has undergone another exciting change. In January 2018, it ventured out on its own, receiving its federal IRS designation as a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt charity and is now independent of Basin Electric.

Basin Electric still supports this worthy cause, recently pledging $150,000 over the next three years. And though Brave the Shave is now an independent charity, Basin Electric employees are still actively involved in Brave the Shave and its activities, whether it’s volunteering their time, donating to their favorite individual shaving, or shaving their own heads, just as they have done in the past.

Following is a list of Basin Electric employee-led teams:

Basin Electric, Brave the Shave check presentation
Taner Ohlsen (right), Brave the Shave representative, accepts Basin Electric’s donation.

“Basin Electric is proud to support Brave the Shave and congratulate it on stepping out on its own,” says Curt Pearson, Basin Electric’s director of communications and creative services. “We urge other area businesses to show their support for this very worthy charity that helps so many families during an extremely challenging time.”

And the winner is …

Zach-Krivoruchka

Zach Krivoruchka is the proud winner of a brand-new pontoon courtesy of Moritz Sport and Marine, Brave the Shave, and Fishin’ for the Cure’s first-ever pontoon raffle.

Krivoruchka bought just one $25 raffle ticket when approached by his girlfriend’s dad, who was participating in the Fishin’ for the Cure tournament.

“My younger brother had a brain tumor so I always try to support causes like this,” he says.

When he got the call that he won, Krivoruchka says he didn’t believe it, thinking it was “a buddy just messing with me. After I hung up, I called the guy back and found out I really did win it. I was pretty excited.”

In all, the raffle brought in $18,482, which will be split between Brave the Shave and Fishin’ for the Cure, all of it going toward childhood cancer research.

“It’s really good to hear that the raffle raised so much money,” Krivoruchka says. “It’s a great cause that’s close to my heart.”

His advice for those considering supporting similar causes by buying raffle tickets? “Buy one. You never know what could happen. You just might get lucky!”

I wanna see you be brave!

Brave. It’s a word that we’ve all heard a lot lately. It implies courage and strength ­– sometimes strength that a person never knew they had.

In 2013, a song by the same name was released by singer Sara Bareilles and quickly became popular, an anthem for many people struggling with a major challenge in their life.

One of the biggest struggles anyone could ever face is cancer, especially when it’s a child who is dealing with it. The song, “Brave” has become near and dear to the hearts of many of our Brave the Shave families, so as a tribute to them and all who were courageous enough to go bald for our little superheroes, a video featuring the song was produced.

Thank you to all the participants of this year’s Brave the Shave campaign, and to the kids, the bravest among us, this is for you.

Brookings, SD, is braving the shave today!

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Brookings, S.D. is hosting an event to help fight childhood cancer today, March 20, 2017 at the Brookings Fire Department East Station, 607 20th Avenue in Brookings. Head shaving will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Those who aren’t able to attend the event can watch it live at https://bravetheshave.coop/. You can also follow Brave the Shave-Brookings on Facebook.

Donations are being accepted at https://donate.bravetheshave.coop/campaign/brookings-event/c113326.

This event is being held to raise money to support local families dealing with childhood cancer and to help fund pediatric cancer research.

Campbell County, Wyoming ‘braved the shave’ Friday

The Campbell County Brave the Shave event to help fight childhood cancer was held March 17, 2017 at Dry Fork Station, 12460 State Highway 59 in Gillette, WY from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

This event was held to raise money to support local families dealing with childhood cancer and to help fund pediatric cancer research.

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The event helps support kids like Brave the Shave honoree Connor.

Visit the event’s fundraising page  where you can view those participating in the event or make a donation.

10th Annual Brave the Shave unites Bismarck-Mandan to fight childhood cancer

Bismarck-Mandan and beyond sacrificed hair, money, time and talent Friday, March 10, to help fight kids’ cancer. As a result, more than 215 bald heads roam the community.

The 10th annual Brave the Shave flagship event was held March 10 at the Missouri Valley Family YMCA. Hair was flying fast and furious and kids and adults united to raise money for the Brave the Shave Family Fund, which supports local families dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis and the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation, which funds cutting-edge childhood cancer research. Gold hair, blue hair, short hair, long hair, to ultimately no hair, there was no shortage of spirit, spontaneity, and generosity.

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Peyton Blowers (right) feels the head of her sister, Kenzie, after she shaved during the main event March 10.

“It’s unbelievable and so moving to see an entire community come together to support the common goal of fighting childhood cancer,” says Taner Ohlsen, Brave the Shave’s family representative. “The support from area businesses, organizations, and individuals is truly remarkable.”

Since Basin Electric brought Brave the Shave to the region in 2008, nearly 2,500 volunteers have shaved their heads and raised more than $2.5 million to help support area families and fund childhood cancer research.

Several honorees families were in attendance, and some even braved the shave. Twenty area children and five angel families were honored at this year’s event.

In addition to hair cutting and head shaving, this year’s flagship event included children’s crafts, online auction, face painting, balloon creations, and local mascots. Miss North Dakota International was also in attendance.

Joining Basin Electric as prime sponsors of the event are North American Coal Corporation, Bismarck Cancer Center, Garrison-Max Ambulance District, Starion Bank, and MDU Resources.

Leading up to today were events hosted by Kupper Automotive and Imagine Home Center, where local law enforcement and fire fighters faced off in the fifth annual Guns N’ Hoses event.

Additionally, the Brave the Shave campaign involves tandem events in Beulah and Linton, ND; Gillette, WY; and Brookings, SD. For more information, visit bravetheshave.coop.

Donations for the campaign are still being accepted and tallied. Donate to this year’s campaign at bravetheshave.coop.

“Every year we try to beat the previous year’s total, and so far we’ve been fortunate to do that,” Ohlsen says. “We’re hoping to do it again this year, but regardless of the final total, we feel great about this year’s campaign and all the good that came out of it.”

Brave the Shave’s biggest event is today!

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Each participant has his or her own reason for shaving or cutting their hair. There is a teenage sister who is lopping her lovely long locks to support her brother who was recently diagnosed with cancer. A mom who is doing it so her head will match her daughter’s after she undergoes brain surgery next week. A mother honoring the memory of her forever five-year-old little boy who fought a good fight. And hundreds more who are just doing it because they want more than anything to ease the struggle of families who have a child with cancer. While the reasons are all a little different, they all share a common theme: they’re doing it for the kids. ­

Today is a big day in the Bismarck-Mandan community – it’s the day more than 200 bald heads will emerge from the Missouri Valley Family YMCA to signify that they stand with kids in our community and region who are battling cancer. So far, they’ve raised more than $220,000 and the number continues to rise.

In its 10th year, the Brave the Shave campaign is benefiting more than 65 families in the region dealing with a childhood cancer diagnosis through the Brave the Shave Family Fund. Honoree families have called the Family Fund, “amazing, guardian angels on earth, a miracle, a shelter during a storm, a ray of sunshine in a very rainy season, an umbrella when it’s pouring, and a best friend that understands when others simply can’t.” The campaign will also support pediatric cancer research through the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. and will open with a special ceremony honoring the Brave the Brave the Shave honorees we fondly refer to as “super kids” who will receive VIP badges from area teens dressed as superheroes. WATCH LIVE: https://bravetheshave.coop/

In addition to the honoree entrance, the event will include comments by Joe McDonough, founder of the Andrew McDonough Be Positive (B+) Foundation, the research arm of this year’s campaign. B+ honors the life of Joe’s son, Andrew, who battled leukemia, septic shock, and complications of childhood cancer for 167 days before passing away at the age of 14. Andrew’s B+ blood type became his family’s and friends’ mantra throughout his fight against cancer – to “be positive.” Joe gave up his career to start this foundation, and he is deeply committed to the cause.

Some of the teams going bald at the event include:

Since 2008, more than 2,200 volunteers have shaved their heads and raised $2.2 million to help fight childhood cancer.

Joining Basin Electric as prime sponsors of the event are North American Coal Corporation, Bismarck Cancer Center, Garrison-Max Ambulance District, and CHI/St. Alexius. Stylists from local salons Spa D’Athena, Luxe Beautique, Man Cave Grooming, Salons on 40th, and Golden Comb Salon & Day Spa will provide the hair removal service. Site sponsors for the week’s other events were Bismarck Motor Company/Kupper Automotive, Imagine Home Center, and Missouri Valley Family YMCA.

In addition to hair cutting and head-shaving, this year’s flagship event includes children’s crafts, an online auction, face painting, local mascots, and Miss North Dakota.

Join us today or support the cause with your donation.

Kupper Automotive Drives Hope Event happening today

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Nearly 40 people will face the clippers at this afternoon’s Kupper Automotive Drives Hope event.

The Kupper Automotive Drives Hope event will be held today, March 8 in the Honda Showroom at Bismarck Motor Company located at 1100 NE 57th Ave. in Bismarck, ND.

Nearly 40 participants, both adults and kids, will be shaving their heads to raise money to support local families dealing with childhood cancer and to help fund pediatric cancer research. The head-shaving will start at 2 p.m., and the event is open to the public.

Visit the event’s fundraising page at  where you can view the participants, teams, or make a donation.