You might say the idea to do a calendar fundraiser for the Blue Earth County Relay for Life just sort of came into focus one day.
Nissa Olson, owner of Nissa NaKia Photography in Mankato, was chatting with friend Tami Scherer one day when they got to talking about the Relay for Life. The conversation led to fundraising, and Olson mentioned how she’d taken pictures and created a calendar to sell to raise money for the Southern Minnesota Children’s Museum.
“Would you be willing to do that for the Relay,” asked Scherer.
Of course she was.
And then the work began. But this kind of work is the kind you don’t complain about.
Relay for Life, in case you don’t know, is one of the major fundraising activities for the American Cancer Society. Its hallmark is a solemn walk done by people battling cancer or by family and friends of someone who has lost their battle. Bags with lit candles — called luminaries — line the walk route.
Blue Earth County and many other communities have been holding Relay for Life events for years. This will be the first time, however, that it will come with a calendar.
Olson has been working for months on organizing the calendar. It features local cancer survivors in both images and a short narrative that tells their story.
Olson, of course, is donating her services. And they’re getting the word out now because they’re taking pre-orders for the calendar. The hope is that, with enough advance notice, they can hit the people who perhaps haven’t been contacted by a Relay team, but would still like to give.
She used Facebook to find the people to feature in the calendar. And all it took was a little bit of social networking to get enough responses to fill up the calendar and then some.
“I foresee it being much bigger next year,” she said.
Many times when a new fundraising initiatives comes about, it happens because the person who came up with it has been affected by the cause for which they’re fighting. She said her grandfather has battled prostate cancer and continues to live with melanoma. But mostly, she said, she’s just doing it because she wants to help.