Audrey’s Purple Dream raises $29K – Park Rapids Enterprise

Akeley’s effort to fight cancer received a significant $29,000 boost over the weekend.

Due to unsafe ice conditions, the Audrey’s Purple Dream fundraiser moved indoors and was jokingly renamed “We Wish We Could Fish.”

Raffle and fishing prizes were drawn at a jam-packed Red River Event Center on Saturday, Feb. 10. This year, 344 out of 400 tickets were sold.

Shannah Geimer, Audrey’s Purple Dream chairwoman, reported on Monday, “Ballpark profit for this year is over $29,000! We usually get some late cash donations that come in after the event, but this is where we currently sit.”

For 18 years, Audrey’s Purple Dream has been the town’s “answer to cancer,” raising money for area patients.

Geimer said, “I want to say ‘thank you’ so much to everyone who came out to support us again this year! Even without the tournament and plunge, we thank the generosity of this community, the surrounding communities and all of the tourists to our area who buy tickets, donate prizes, volunteer time, money, hearts and souls to our cause. We couldn’t do this without you.”

The infamous Purple Plunge into 11th Crow Wing Lake was canceled, due poor ice conditions, but would-be plungers came through by raising a total of $3,889.


Tina Ericson presents Kay Hellkamp a plaque and prize money for collecting the most pledges as an adult for Audrey’s Purple Plunge.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Kay Hellkamp and her “Little Bo Beep and Her Sheep” crew were recognized for receiving the most pledges as an adult: $2,369.

Hellkamp raised the money In memory of Threasa Esser.

Tina Ericson, who presented these special awards, said, “We lost Threasa a little over a year ago. She was a huge supporter of ADP, so everybody raise your glasses for a toast to Threasa. We know she is celebrating with us today.”

Taylor Monroe received the youth pledge award for garnering $435.


After collecting $435, Taylor Monroe earned recognition as the youth with the most polar plunge pledges.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Patty Kramer won the $1,000 cash grand prize. She said she’ll probably save it for a trip.


Patty Kramer won the $1,000 grand prize. Laura Powers presents the check at Audrey’s Purple Dream in Akeley.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

“My brother won the fish house last year,” Kramer said. “I told my mom, on my way out here, I said, ‘I’m going to go win that $1,000 bucks.’”

Kory Haisman of Nevis won the fish house. Nate George of Akeley won a Strikemaster ice auger, while Kaia Dunham won the “mystery box.” Chris Powers of Akeley won a vest with $100 pinned to it.

Emcee Laura Powers said Reed’s in Walker donated the majority of prizes, along with other local businesses.

Akeley residents and businesses were encouraged to “Paint the Town Purple.”

Laura Powers explained, “What we ask in the community and surrounding community is we want to see your purple pride for Audrey’s Purple Dream. What we want to see is purple lights, purple snow, purple anything. We just want to see the outside of homes and businesses decorated purple.”


Perennial winners in the Paint the Town Purple Contest are Chris and Chelsea Powers.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Placing first were Chris and Chelsea Powers’ home at 320 Broadway St. They snagged the $150 prize. “It was mostly Chris,” Chelsea told the crowd.


Jana Dunham and Matt Lafrombois paint their home purple, winning second place in the Audrey’s Purple Dream contest.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

Jana Dunham and Matt Lafrombois, located at 320 Park Ave., won $100 for second place. North Country Repair earned $50 for third.

The Eastern Hubbard County Fire District donated prize money for the contest.

Laura Powers handed out keychains to people who have attended all 18 years of Audrey’s Purple Dream events.

“We thank you for showing up every year. That’s Akeley, right? We show up,” she said.

Douglas Norland of Shakopee regularly attends. He’s passionate about fighting cancer. A button on his jacket honors his sister. “She passed away in 2013 to breast cancer. It spread all over her bones, and then she was gone,” he said. “I basically lost my whole family to cancer on my father’s side.”


Doug Norland attends Audrey’s Purple Dream with his family – brother Ryan Murphy and mom Bonnie Murphy. Doug has lost grandparents, a great-aunt and his sister to cancer.

Shannon Geisen/Enterprise

He lost his grandparents, great-aunt and his father to cancer.

In addition to other cancer fundraisers, Norland has been a member of Men Wear Pink of Minnesota, a chapter of the American Cancer Society in the Cities, for many years.

“Kindness looks good on you. “I’m proud to be a part of this group” Laura Powers said to the audience, reminding them the event started when Audrey Pidde was diagnosed with cancer. She wanted to see Alaska. In a few short weeks, the community raised $10,000.

“This small, small community, we said, ‘Audrey, live out your dream,’” Laura said. “Cancer’s a ‘b,’ right? Although she didn’t get to see her dream, she said you should do this for other people.”

Audrey’s Purple Dream continues to raise money for friends, neighbors – and even people they don’t know – who have been “afflicted by this terrible disease,” Laura concluded.


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