Racing To Help Others

Steve (left) and Tammy (right of Steve) enjoy the fun at Kelderman Raceway on Saturday night. (photo by Denis Currier/Oskaloosa News)

Steve (left) and Tammy (right of Steve) enjoy the fun at Kelderman Raceway on Saturday night. (photo by Denis Currier/Oskaloosa News)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Warm hearts and well wishes helped to tame the bitter cold and snowy conditions Saturday night, as 170 racers joined together to help raise funds for pediatric cancer patients and their families.

The racing action took place at the Heartland Square Mall location in Oskaloosa. On the north end of the building, tucked inside, is a dirt racetrack operated by Kelderman’s Hobby Shack. You won’t find any stock cars in the traditional sense turning laps in the buildings confines, but instead, one of the areas fastest growing hobbies, RC racing.

Josh Fenton, from Des Moines, was one of the main organizers to help benefit the Team Kelsey Foundation on Saturday night. Team Kelsey helps to provide financial support to families who have a child who is fighting cancer.

In June of 2011, the Michelsen family had their lives change forever when their 14 year old daughter Kelsey was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “For 18 months our community laughed with us, cried with us, prayed for us and finally… grieved with us. Even though Kelsey’s journey on this earth came to an end that is not the end of her story, but rather just the end of a chapter. The Team Kelsey Foundation is the beginning of a new chapter.”

Fenton said his desire to help came from his relationship to Kelsey’s father, Steve Michelsen. The two became acquainted through work, and Michelsen would help keep Fenton updated on Kelsey’s status during her fight with cancer.

Fenton was searching for a way to help out his friend, and the foundation. He said that with his schedule, being able to attend those fundraisers was difficult, “so I figured, what better way to give back and doing what I like doing.” Another fundraiser is planned for ‘Dirt Slingers’ in Eddyville during the summer.

Kelsey inspired an entire community, as well as her parents. She would prove the doctors wrong time and again, such as when a biopsy caused her to be confined to a wheelchair, and never be expected to walk again, or go home. She proved them wrong by once again walking and being able to go home again. Students had lined the streets to welcome her home from the Mayo Clinic.

On December 10, of 2012, cancer took the life of Kelsey Michelsen. Kelsey had deeply touched her community of SE Polk, and her loss impacted her community.

“We had a lot of support when our daughter was going through her cancer and treatment,” said Tammy Michelsen, Kelsey’s mother. “We had such community support we wanted to pay it forward.”

The foundation has held golf outings to help raise funds, “but this is a new one for us,” said Steve. “Josh Fenton, he’s the one who came to me with this idea and I thought it was a pretty good idea, and it’s his way of giving back and helping families.

The foundation, who is overseen by a board of 12 volunteers, was able to just recently write it’s first check of $1,000 to a family. “That was pretty cool,” said Tammy.

Being able to carry on the Team Kelsey helps provide the family with healing as well. “It’s very rewarding knowing that we can give back and help families,” Steve said.

“The whole South East Polk community has just been,” supportive of the Michelsen’s. “People like Josh,” Steve pointed out, “He’s been a huge supporter. That’s really the neat thing about our foundation, we don’t pay anybody to volunteer… what people give to us, families get.”

The foundation is looking forward to this coming weekend. At SE Polk, they will be holding a dance, which was Kelsey’s favorite thing. Kelsey was a competitive dancer. “We’re having a dance to celebrate her birthday and to raise money,” said Tammy. Kelsey would have been 17 on February 7 of this year.

You can read more about Kelsey’s remarkable story at the Team Kelsey Foundation website HERE.

1st Annual Team Kelsey Foundation’s “Keep Dancin’ For Those Who Can’t” Dance
Date: Saturday, February 8, 2014
Time: 6 pm to 10 pm
Where: Southeast Polk High School 8325 NE University Ave. Pleasant Hill, IA
Cost: $15.00 per person or $45.00 for a family pass
Tickets will be sold at the door.
All ages welcome – this is a NO ALCOHOL event

There will be snacks and merchandise for sale as well as contests and prizes. Please plan to join us for the fun. All proceeds will go to help families who have children that have been diagnosed with cancer.

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