This past October, De Smet and Howard High School students, teachers and community members joined together with the Horizon Health Foundation to raise awareness and funds through the annual Bulldogs Bark Back @ Cancer (De Smet) and Tigers Step Up 2 Cancer (Howard) campaigns.
Howard and De Smet High School student leaders led the coordination of all campaign activities, including sponsorship solicitation, t-shirt sales, and other fundraising efforts.
“I am proud to have been a part of such a great project that allows us to give back to our community,” said De Smet Student Council Vice President Abbi Flood.
Through this year’s campaign, the students raised a total of $13,896.86, which includes a $5,000 matching gift from Kibble Equipment. This year’s effort brings the total campaign contributions over the past years to $32,904.30; all of which will benefit Kingsbury and Miner County residents, who are Horizon Health Care patients, undergoing cancer treatment and to help with related expenses.
“Bulldogs Bark Back @ Cancer has been a great opportunity to work with the De Smet schools to help impact my patients with cancer,” said Jodi Jung, CNP, medical provider at De Smet Community Health Center and Horizon Health Foundation board member. “It’s been great to see high school students work to help others in their own community. I’ve seen firsthand the financial hardships cancer can have on my patients and their families. Through Bulldogs Bark Back @ Cancer, my patients have some of that burden lifted. I’m proud of the De Smet students who have led this effort. It’s been amazing to watch them lead this successfully!”
“Connecting with local high school students in a professional setting is so encouraging to a business in Howard,” said Krista Swoboda, Good Samaritan Society Administrator. “I was able to have a conversation with one of the students regarding ‘Tigers Step Up to Cancer’ and why our business should be a part of the cause. Providing real world experience to students helps prepare them for life after college - including having professional conversations, being comfortable with interviewing, and experiencing business transactions — all while making a difference. Allowing students to partner with local businesses also provides them with career insight and opens the door to the possibilities that are out there.”
Even as neighboring school sports rivals, the student leaders from both schools were able to collaborate to create a fun challenge between the two schools, while still focusing their efforts to positively impact those affected by cancer in both communities.
They kicked off the campaign during a regular season football game between the schools with mascot races and student competitions. They also joined together at the De Smet vs. Howard doubleheader basketball game on January 14, 2020, to announce the total amount raised between their campaigns. “I am proud of the team that I am a part of,” said Ben Connor, Howard student leader. “The team who has created a network and a campaign that has involved the entire community of Miner County and has allowed for people to receive the therapy and treatment that they need.”
The De Smet students would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors for their generous support: American Bank and Trust, Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, De Smet Farm Mutual Insurance, Lyle Signs, Main Stop, GF Advertising, and Kibble Equipment (matching gift sponsor).
The Howard students would like to recognize and thank the following sponsors for their generous support: American Bank and Trust, Corner Pantry, Good Samaritan Society, Howard Physical Therapy, Rivers Edge Bank, Rusty’s Food Store, Schwader Farms, Whispering Winds, GF Advertising, FoxPrint Printing and Graphics, an anonymous donor, and Kibble Equipment (matching gift).
“Thank you to everyone who supported the program, you make our communities an exceptional place to live,” said Brianna Feldhaus, Horizon Health Foundation Fundraising Officer. “Local cancer patients are able to Bark Back @ Cancer and Step Up 2 Cancer because of you!”
The Horizon Health Foundation, which has 32 community health centers in South Dakota, was established in 2016 to ensure rural health care access to those in need and provide funding for Horizon Health Care. Horizon Health Foundation, a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation, seeks through responsible activities to encourage and derive sustaining gift support from current and former patients and interested friends, including corporate entities. The Horizon Health Foundation, operating in coordination with Horizon Health Care, is the duly designated fundraising arm for Horizon Health Care.