Tom Nelson, Morris Corlett with Olga Corlett

Natalie Stram

Joan Paulson

Eagles Telethon 2018

Whether it’s hosts Tom Stram, Natalie Stram and Tom Nelson,
performers like Autumn Kivi or donors like the Girl Scouts
appearing on the broadcast, the telethon goal is to raise money toward
cardiology and  cancer research. (Courier Press file photos)
Every year, the objective of the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon is to raise just $1 for cardiology and cancer research. Though, truly, by the end of the eight-hour, local broadcast tradition, a figure much larger than that is reflected on the fundraising board.
“We are very proud of that number. People always want to know that total. That’s their connection to what their $10, in memory of grandma, went toward,” professed Tom Nelson, telethon co-host, and esteemed Prairie du Chien personality. “The part of this that makes the entire telethon so special—from the viewer to the contributor to the participant—is that every little bit makes a difference from our little corner of the world.”
The 43rd telethon will be broadcast live Saturday, Jan. 27, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., from Bluff View Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien and on Mediacom channel 6. It will also be streamed at; a link will be available at
Nelson and his longtime pal Tom Stram have co-hosted the telethon for decades, along with Stram’s daughter Natalie and WQPC persona Dan Moris.
The annual event is always anticipated because of its time-honored, small-town talent, yet it has kept up with the times of technology and each generation’s natural aptitude, Nelson pointed out.
“We have polished the format over the years, but the fact that it’s not a perfected, live show is what draws people in,” he said. “I like to think we’ve been able to keep current with the world around us, but it’s the same style of show that started over 40 years ago.”
In 2017, the total raised was $44,000. That brought the 42-year grand total to $852,285, according to the Eagles telethon committee. These monies have benefitted the UW Carbone Cancer Center, the UW Cardiovascular Medicine, Gundersen Cancer Center and Mayo Clinic Cardiology Center.
Nelson shared his enthusiasm about the new foundation of volunteers joining the efforts to plan and organize the telethon each year and participate by performing on air. He believes new blood is what’s going to help carry the event to raising $1 million and more for cardiology and cancer research. He recognized people such as Bob and Sharon Linzenmeyer, Melody Igou, Mike Stram, Dillon Petrowitz, Natalie Stram and Dan Moris for stepping up to help.
In addition to these newer volunteers, he listed notables the telethon wouldn’t be the same without, including Richard Hagensick and Mark Oehler of Mediacom; Tom Licht of CenturyLink; Talent coordinators Ruth Taylor, Kathy Atkins and Cathie Nelson; auction and phone organizers Joan Paulson, Ev Dow and Brenda Mimms; caricaturist John Mundt; the local Boy Scouts who sell concessions on site; performers such as Gretchen Faulkner, the Ding-A-Lings and Autumn Kivi; and website coordinator Randy Paske.
Nelson is also proud of the recurrent staples that have added pizzazz to the telethon, such as “Danny’s Moment,” during which the late Danny Ruehlow is remembered; “Looking Up Your Back Door,” a technology moment; the Tom & Tom Show; the Tree of Hope, through which those currently battling cancer are acknowledged; and the symbolic Memory Wall coordinated by the Prairie du Chien High School Student Council.
This year, he noted two entities are being added to the $1,000+ Hearty Donors list. The employees of Peoples State Bank and the Dillman family will now join MPC, the Sew Watts, the 12th Street Telethon Party, John Mundt, the Boy Scouts, the 1502 and Eagles Auxiliary and the PdC wrestlers who do “Pushups for Pennies” each year.
“Everybody’s got a jar of pennies or coins they can bring down to the telethon,” Nelson stated. “That gives people a way to get involved in this small community cause. Once the money leaves our hands, it’s directly deposited into the hands of organizations that can start planning research. It’s really touching to know the difference we can make.”
Corene Martin – Courier Press Permission granted via email

Videos from UW Cardiovascular Center and Carbone Cancer Center

Maureen Dembski, Director of Development at UW Cardiovascular Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, sent these terrific YouTube videos about their programs. Take a look.

UW Cardiovascular Research Center
Healthy Stories: Joe Gets Healthier After a Heart Attack
Hector Valdivia discussing his research
Tim Kamp discussing regenerative heart research

UW Carbone Cancer Center
UW Band serenades UWCCC patient on her last chemo treatment
Dr. Dusty Deming, UWCCC oncologist cancer story 

Dr. Howard Bailey Director UW Carbone Cancer Center 
Dr. Sam Lubner hip-hopping for colon screening with Dr. Dan Mulkerin
Drs. Lubner, Bailey, Cleary and McNeal singing On Wisconsin

12th Street Telethon Party

The 12th Street Party 2018  for the Eagles Heart & Cancer Telethon will be held on Saturday, January 27, at the Rural Bridgeport and Prairie du Chien Fire Department from 5PM to 11PM. The address is 63176 Vineyard Rd, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin 53821.

The challenge has been set. For 25 years, the 12th Street Telethon Party has been raising money for the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon—and now, they’re challenging others to do the same. (Photo - The 12th Street Telethon Party co-hosts Tammy Otteson (second from left) and Liz Bremmer (second from right). They are pictured in front of the Heart Donors ($1,000 or more) board with Liz’s daughter Taylor, and telethon co-hosts Tom Nelson (far left) and Tom Stram.)
Sisters Liz Bremmer and Tammy Otteson, both of Prairie du Chien, are passionate about organizing social gatherings and they’re great at collecting money for charities as well. Over two decades ago, they had a telethon viewing party in Liz and Rob Bremmer’s trailer house with just four friends.
“We drank, laughed and giggled. We had little intentions of actually watching the telethon,” Liz recalled. “But we decided, as long as we were together, we’d pull a little money together for the cause.”
Back then, the sisters were in their 20s with young families. As their families and networks of friends grew, so did their telethon party. When the Bremmers moved to a bigger house, the party moved with them. Eventually, it outgrew their house, and when someone suggested holding it at the Bridgeport Fire Station, the sizeable facility seemed like the perfect place.
In 2013, the first year in the new location, the still-somehow-aptly-named 12th Street Telethon Party raised $2,000 for the telethon. In its second year, they ended up with $3,200 and, the donations keep increasing each year.
“We were shocked last year,” Liz remembered.
“We like to see if it can be bigger and better every year,” Tammy added. “Raising money is kind of our wheelhouse. We’re just good at organizing.”
Telethon co-host Tom Nelson commended Liz and Tammy, “It’s a serious fundraiser. They do such a great job. We’ve even invited them to come to our telethon meetings.”
Tammy described the numerous, entertaining activities that make their telethon parties unique and charitably successful. “We’ve had an ugly sweater contest, where even the kids had ugly sweaters on. One year, every time (co-host) Tom Stram said ‘um,’ we put a quarter in a bucket,” she noted.
Another year, they challenged co-hosts Stram and Nelson to a competition that resulted in the opportunity to deliver a pizza to the 12th Street Telethon Party while the telethon was on-air. Needless to say, Stram had no trouble joining the fun on location.
Additionally, they started providing a meal for a $5 donation (people bring their own drinks) and putting together silent auctions for gift baskets and 50/50 raffles—both of which have become their bread and butter in fundraising.
“Just about everybody brings something to raffle,” Tammy said, listing a Badger basket, wine basket, Bloody Mary basket, a day on the river, gift cards, Packer memorabilia, a grill package, a pool party, a Valentine’s Day basket and a St. Patrick’s Day basket as examples of donated items for the silent auction. “Most people go together and make a basket. They get pretty creative.”
Liz added that, oftentimes, the silent auction turns into a live auction, as she goes around asking party-goers if they can beat the highest bids.
“It’s crazy. Everybody’s talking. People are playing cards,” she explained. “The TV is usually on and, if something special comes on, we get everybody to quiet down so we can watch. Time flies pretty fast for the two of us because we’re always so busy.”
As the telethon winds down, so does the 12th Street Telethon Party. They try to wrap up the auction and raffles before midnight so Liz and Tammy can go to the Eagles’ live telethon and present their total donation.
“Last year, we didn’t tell everyone what we’d raised until we got on the air. It was pretty cool,” Liz said.
To recognize the 12th Street Telethon Party for their efforts, the Heart and Cancer Telethon puts them on its Hearty Donor list for those contributing over $1,000.
After the big announcement, everybody cleans up and heads home. However, the night is not done for the two sisters, and a few other family members and friends, as they continue the joyful night at the Eagles Club.
This year, in addition to all the flurry, a meat raffle is planned.
With the telethon just one week away, the anticipation of the night is at its peak. As they look forward to their own festivities, Liz and Tammy would like to issue a challenge to the telethon-viewing public.
“We know a lot of people are out there watching it,” Liz said. “Why not put some money in a pot.”
“Start out small,” Tammy added. “Find something that’s a passion of yours and run with it. Then, see if you can make it bigger and better each year.”

It’s the People

The Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon will celebrate its 43rd year in 2018. That’s right – FORTY-THREE years!
The success of the telethon has always been the people, all with extraordinary abilities. The ability to plan, to work together, to make us laugh or cry, sing, dance, or play an instrument. The people, who, year after year, have made donations of time, donations from pennies to thousands of dollars. The Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon has always been about the outstanding teams of researchers and doctors who fight for a cure each and every day.
Jim Lovel, Jr. a former NASA astronaut, the commander of Apollo 13 mission has said,”There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, we have to be people who make things happen.” The people of the telethon make things happen; managing the phones, setting the stage, getting talent, preparing snacks, writing scripts, providing video and audio, and a myriad of other tasks. These doers see problems as challenges they can overcome.
The goal of the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon is to raise money for research that may lead to a cure. The people of the Eagles Telethon share their talents so that the people watching donate to the cause. Sharing involves a reciprocal giving. Research is full of benefits of giving. In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University, writes that giving to others has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illness, including HIV and multiple sclerosis. And Sonja Lyubomirsky, a happiness researcher at the University of California, Riverside, argues that giving can become contagious, moving from the personal to one’s community. “Being kind and generous leads you to perceive others more positively and more charitably,” she writes in The How of Happiness, and this “fosters a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in your social community.”
Join in the fun and excitement of the 41st Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon on January 30, 2016.  Watch your friends, neighbors, and people of the community sharing their unique abilities, Help to make this the best telethon, so far.