F Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon PDC

Telethon Talent puts Prairie du Chien on the Map

“Forty-four years speaks volumes for our community-that it’s willing to have this telethon and showcase what Prairie du Chien really is and what we have done.” The never speechless Tom Nelson said this about the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon and its dedicated committee, talent, and viewers who’ve, together, brought a “breath of fresh air” to the middle of winter and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical research since 1976.
“It’s an opportunity to spotlight our youth, our working class and us old-timers who still choose to live in Prairie du Chien. Through that process, We raise a little money,” Nelson added.
The reality is, more than just a little money has been donated. The telethon has amassed over $952,000, in 44 years. Those funds have all contributed to research in the fields of heart disease and cancer, through medical institutions in La Crosse and Madison, trickling down to Prairie du Chien as Well.
In 2020, the Eagles Telethon will be Saturday, Jan. 25, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., live from the Bluff View school cafeteria, and broadcast on local Mediacom channel 6 and on YouTube. Visit eaglestelethon.org to access online viewing-—Whether you live afar or are Watching from the comfort of your own home locally.
All are welcome to stop by Bluff View to see the telethon live. Food, treats, and beverages are sold on-site and there’s also side entertainment n addition to the ongoing show,
In addition, throughout the telethon, there will be plenty of activities, such as a dinner and meat raffle, happening at the Eagles Club in Prairie du Chien.

Joy and memories for 44 years*

Having local youth like the Girl Scouts participate in the telethon is part of the organizers’ strategy to continue the longevity this fundraiser has had in the Prairie du Chien community. Entertainment, stories and hard-earned funds have made an enormous difference in heart and cancer research through several key medical institutions across the region.
Gretchen Faulkner is the epitome of the annual Prairie du Chien telethon. She’s demonstrated her love of dancing and singing during the live broadcast for most of her life. She exemplifies the joy the telethon can bring to audiences locally and far away—the happiness and good memories it’s brought viewers for 44 years now.
The Prairie du Chien High School wrestlers have been a staple on the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon for many of its recent years with their popular Pushups for Pennies fundraiser. They perform their promised pushups in front of the memory wall each time and, this year was part of the $46,697 that was pledged by the time the broadcast went off the air.

Lucy Anderson and Betty Cejka enjoyed a dance on the telethon stage as host and friend Tom Nelson looked on.

Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon 2019

Telethon planning is underway. With the theme of "Family", The 2019 Telethon will be January 26.

 Every year, the objective of the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon is to raise just $1 toward 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 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.”

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.

“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.”