Football teams aim to help Tackle Cancer

By Sue Austreng – ABC Newspapers

Four years ago, Anoka Tornado football player Dylan Witschen began a courageous battle with brain cancer. That battle ended when Dylan died June 8, 2010.

For Dylan’s teammates, his fierce and courageous battle ignited a fierce and passionate determination to raise awareness, raise funds and raise support for cancer patients of all sorts. And so, over the years Tornado football players and the Anoka High School family have devoted countless hours and energy to raising funds and support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the medical facility where Dylan received his cancer treatments.

This year, 89 teams statewide are involved in an effort to “Tackle Cancer.”

The Minnesota Football Coaches Association has teamed up with the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund this September to Tackle Cancer.

Each Tackle Cancer team designates at least one September game night to raise funds for cancer research and community support.

“We feel it is a great cause and there are many people in need of help so it is a natural tie-in for us to do anything we can to help the cause,” said Tornado football head coach Jeff Buerkle.

During each of the Tackle Cancer football games, donations will be collected at the gate for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.

The first Tackle Cancer game was Sept. 14, when Anoka hosted Totino-Grace at Goodrich Field.

Northwest Suburban and North Suburban Conference football games tagged as Tackle Cancer contests are scheduled on the following dates.

Sept. 21: Andover hosts Elk River at Husky Stadium

Coon Rapids hosts Champlin Park at Cardinal Stadium

St. Francis hosts Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Saints Stadium

Sept. 28: Blaine hosts Coon Rapids at Bengal Stadium