Rochester, Minnesota’s phenomenal culture of caring is on full display one weekend in January every year, when Mayo Civic Center proudly hosts the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon.
Celebrating its 65th year on Jan. 19-20, 2019, the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon is the longest locally-run telethon in the U.S., thanks to the community’s incredible dedication to help in the fight against cancer.
Originally broadcast from a small television studio with a handful of amateur entertainers, the event evolved over the years into a large, sophisticated production with hundreds of performers and volunteers, and moved to the Mayo Civic Center several years later.
“The Eagles Cancer Telethon is an inspiring Rochester tradition that reflects the best of our city and its citizens. We look forward to hosting this event every year,” says Andy Krogstad, managing director at the Mayo Civic Center. “The energy and enthusiasm of the talented performers—from local bands to bag-pipers to dancers—is contagious, and it’s fun when people come down to see it live. And it’s all for a great cause!”
Teresa Chapman, executive director of the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon, says that Mayo Civic Center’s “top-notch team,” flexible venues, and technology capabilities make it an ideal site for the event. To celebrate the 65th anniversary of the event, a kick-off fundraising dinner will be held this year on Jan. 18 in the Mayo Civic Center’s spacious ballroom. The Friday night fundraiser features a sit-down dinner, live and silent auctions, and guest speakers, as well as old photos and memorabilia showcasing the rich history of the telethon.
Last year, the Eagles Cancer Telethon raised $1 million to support cancer research in the community, with donations going to Mayo Clinic, the Hormel Institute, and Masonic Cancer Center. “The funds raised have an effect on the lives of people affected by cancer,” says Teresa Chapman, executive director of the 5th District Eagles Cancer Telethon.
Many people who perform, attend, or donate to the telethon have personal reasons for their involvement, notes Chapman, who has led the event for seven years. “Personally, the monies raised have helped people close to me. A dear friend of mine had been given months to live, but because of new research and medical advances, she survived for 20-plus years after her original diagnoses. The research dollars we raise through the telethon give people time to create more memories.”
Throughout its 65-year run, the Eagles Cancer Telethon has donated in excess of $16 million, Chapman says. “We can’t wait to raise more. Together, we can make a difference!”
What: 65th Annual Eagles Cancer Telethon
When: From Saturday, Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. to Sunday, Jan. 20 at 4 p.m.
Where: Live from the Mayo Civic Center
Watch: Live on KTTC, or streamed live on KTTC
Open to the public. Enjoy the many talented groups and individuals performing, all while supporting the fight against cancer. Grab a pulled pork sandwich and malt. Get a haircut for the cause!