Under most circumstances, cancer is no laughing matter. But about 18 months ago, breast cancer survivor and stand-up comedian Priscilla Nelson Mitchell of Rush City and a group of her friends decided they would turn lemons into lemonade by hosting a comedy night fundraiser for breast cancer called “Chuckles for Chi-Chis.”
The concept of fighting cancer with laughter started with a conversation between Mitchell and Jackie Truskolaski and Holly Schellbach, also of Rush City. Thanks to their contagious enthusiasm, others soon joined in the cause.
Mitchell, who recently retired from a 15-year career as a professional comedian, explains that she had thought about doing a comedy night fundraiser at her friend’s bowling alley in Rush City before she knew she had cancer. After her diagnosis, the project became even more meaningful, says Mitchell. This past December, the second annual Chuckles for Chi-Chis event at Chucker’s Bowl and Lounge in Rush City drew an audience of 130 and raised $3,300.
The women have used the proceeds of the event to provide gas and grocery cards for patients undergoing breast cancer treatment at the Lakes Cancer Clinic and University of Minnesota Physicians Radiation Therapy Center in Wyoming.
“We decided that rather than give the funds to a large cancer research organization, we wanted to donate it locally, and I chose the place that I had received my cancer treatment at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming,” says Mitchell.
The women’s donation was gratefully received by Jody Rick, oncology clinic regional manager at the Lakes Cancer Clinic at Wyoming, who knows the gift cards are needed. “There have been times when our physicians and staff have reached into their own pockets to help patients who are struggling financially. There is no question that these gift cards will be used and appreciated.”
Each card is presented to the patient in a sleeve that explains it came from the Chuckles for Chi-Chis fundraiser. It says that the event was organized by a group of women “who supported a dear friend through her breast cancer journey. They recognized how quickly ‘other things’ began to add up, and wanted to help families during this challenging time. This gift card is made possible from the proceeds of this event.”
The comedy night was so successful, the women have already begun planning for next year.
To see more, like them on Facebook at “Chuckles for Chi Chis.” For more information about the Lakes Cancer Clinic, visit www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/Clinics/LakesCancerClinic.