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Presho raises $74K for Pierre cancer center

Area youth decorated the heads of their stick horses and then raced them Saturday morning during the Game on, Cancer event in Presho. (Submitted photo)

PRESHO — Presho residents raised more than $74,000 during a 24-hour fundraiser to help build a cancer center in Pierre.

The Game on, Cancer event began Friday and spanned 24 hours, featuring games and races at Jet Lanes in Presho.

In August 2016, Avera announced plans to build the Helmsley Cancer Center in Pierre thanks to up to $10 million in grant funding from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The trust also announced $2.5 million dollar-for-dollar challenge matching grant, and all money raised during Presho's fundraiser was matched by the foundation.

Located less than an hour away from Pierre, Presho residents took interest in the center.

The weekend event raised $5,130.74, and a trust fund through Stanley-Jones Memorial Clinic donated $31,873, raising the total to $37,003.74. With the matching grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the total amount raised exceeded $74,000.

"It exceeded my expectations, I was overwhelmed by the generosity," event organizer Angela Ehlers said.

The fundraiser was busy the entire time, Ehlers said, sans a short lull between 2 a.m and 7 a.m. That time was called "Teen Time," sponsored by the Lyman High School Honor Society.

"Apparently teenagers like to sleep more than I thought," Ehlers joked.

But area hunters showed interest in the event, offsetting the lull.

Throughout the fundraiser, hunters stopped by Jet Lanes, curious about what was going on, Ehlers said, and all who did were generous and kind.

"They were so generous and they were so interested, and that's a side benefit I never thought of ahead of time," Ehlers said. "How great that people care so much about the cause."