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A FUNdraiser — School reaches out to Rolbiecki family

By Christina Killion Valdez

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

his winter, Steve Rolbiecki tried to infuse a little humor into his battle with cancer by putting his non-Hodgkins Lymphoma up for sale on eBay. Now a group of parents, teachers and staff at his sons’ elementary school are hoping to inject a little fun into a fundraiser for the family.

"People at the school, friends of the family, parents and neighbors from the northeast neighborhood have seen a huge need for the family," said Churchill Elementary Principal Joyce Dammer. "We all thought there has to be some way that we can help."

Rolbiecki and his family have been through a lot over the past two years. In November 2006, he organized a fundraiser for his best friend and musical soulmate, Wes House, who later died of multiple sclerosis. In April 2007, a similar benefit was organized for Rolbiecki, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. A year later, Rolbiecki is still in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments.

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Yet through it all, Rolbiecki and everyone around him have kept a positive attitude.

"Good things come around," said Dammer, who is helping organize a community event and pancake dinner fundraiser for the family. "He did what he did for his friend, because it was the right thing to do. For our families, this is the right thing to do."

And they are keeping it fun. The dinner will feature expert pancake flipping by Chris Cakes, a national company that’s been featured in the Guinness Book of World Records and on the Food Network. There also will be a moon walk and dunk tank, face painting, a massage therapist, a bake sale and a silent auction. Students, including Rolbiecki’s twin sons Jake and Josh’s kindergarten classes, also made decorations for the event.

Steve’s wife, Megan Rolbiecki, hopes Steve also will be well enough to attend.

"I think he is pretty touched by the support we’ve gotten from Churchill and the community," she said. "Churchill is a small school, just kindergarten through second grade, so it’s just like a little family."

And like a family would, when one person gets sick, everyone pitches in to help.

For more information, go to Postbulletin.com/weblinks.

If you go

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What: Pancake dinner to benefit the Rolbiecki Family

When: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Churchill Elementary, 2240 Seventh Ave. N.E. in Rochester

Admission: Suggested donation of $5 per person.

Donations to the Rolbiecki Benefit can also be made at any local Home Federal Bank or mailed to Churchill Elementary, ATTN: Tina Pittner, 2240 Seventh Ave. N.E. Rochester, MN 55906.

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