F Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon 2022 ~ Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon PDC

Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon 2022

By Correne Martin

Over $1 million has been raised in the past four decades of the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon in Prairie du Chien. That tradition will continue this Saturday, Jan. 29, as donations pour in from around the country for the annual fundraiser for heart disease and cancer research.

When COVID-19 forced the 2021 telethon to go all virtual—and be thrown together last minute from a local living room—it was sort of an unplanned move into a modern-day direction.

For 2022, the telethon has gone back to in-person performances happening live from the Bluff View School cafeteria.

However, there will be changes.

The most noticeable of those will be the absence of original host Tom Nelson, who, along with his wife Cathie, has retired from the telethon committee after 47 years. Some segments have been recorded with Nelson and will be played during the show.

Longstanding co-hosts Tom Stram and Dan Moris will carry on the major mic duties, while Mayor Dave Hemmer will also step in this year.

“This will be the first time in a long time we’ve had a mayor as host,” Moris said. “So that’s a bit of throwback in a sense to the early host duties held by then-mayor Jim Bittner.”

Another difference viewers will notice is that although the show will still go on at 5 p.m., lights will fade on the event at 11 p.m. this year, rather than the typical 1 a.m. Talent will include a mix of local performers singing, dancing, etc. These will certainly be familiar faces and new ones.

Furthermore, the telethon has transitioned to promoting mostly online donations via the organization’s website: eaglestelethon.org.

“It makes things so much easier on the back end. That instant transaction doesn’t require following up to track down the money people pledged,” Moris explained.

Yet, if viewers and loyal supporters still wish to donate in the more traditional way, contributions can be dropped off at the Eagles Club or Bluff View during the telethon, or at the club in advance of the event.

“No matter how you donate, you can still do so in memory or in honor of someone,” Moris mentioned.

Additionally, bidding on the beloved silent auction items will be entirely online as well. This includes the last jar of the late Rose Stram’s famous dill pickles.

To watch the telethon live, donate, or bid on auction items, visit eaglestelethon.org. The show will also be back on cable this year, on local Channel 6, and organizers are hopeful it will appear on Facebook Live too.

With so much fun happening inside the Eagles Club over the course of the night, Moris said video updates from that location may be part of the broadcast.

“The biggest part of the entire thing is trying to keep it relevant, successful and advancing into the future, but also honoring and remembering the past, where there’s comfort in experiencing the telethon,” Moris stated.

As everyone involved with the telethon sees it, the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon is one night of the year where all facets of the city come together to accomplish one goal. From the school and city to major employers, service organizations and health care, it’s all for an ultimate cause.