Our History

The history of the Prairie du Chien Eagles Club Heart and Cancer Telethon dates back to 1976, when committee members included Bob Steele, Faye Grim, Dick Obmascher, Bob Sebastian, Edward Ferrin, Jim Bittner Sr., Richard Hagensack and Bob Zeil. In its inaugural year, the event raised $3,200. It was held in the building that now houses MediaCom.

For the first four years, the amount raised for heart and cancer research hovered between $3,200 and $4,400. In 1981, the decision was made to move the telethon to B.A. Kennedy, as more room was necessary for the growing night of fun. That year, the funds raised equaled $6,600, more than double the first year’s output.

In 1993, the telethon surpassed the $10,000 mark, and it has continued to grow ever since. In 1998, it brought in $20,000, and in 2003, $30,000. For the past 10 years, especially since the 2000 move to Bluff View, the yearly collection has netted between $30,000 and $40,000. Last year, 2016, the telethon raised $43,723.00. Combining all the years, the Prairie du Chien community telethon’s 42-year tally is up to $810,566.00. And things aren’t slowing down.

So, once again, the telethon will kick off with great vitality at 5 p.m. on the last Saturday in January. The in-studio audience, seating 50-60 people, is a place where anyone can enjoy the live show up close and personal. Otherwise, the public is welcome to enjoy the telethon on the airwaves of Cable Channel 6. The event will be streamed live on the Internet via YouTube. Be sure to watch the telethon and consider doing your part for heart and cancer research.

“We never set a goal. But we say if we can raise $1 more, we’re happy,” Nelson said. “Obviously the objective of the telethon is to raise money, but the goal of the telethon is to bring the community together in an effort to recognize talents and give people a chance to gather and enjoy themselves.”

Now in its 49th year, the annual Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon, hosted by Prairie du Chien Eagles #1502 in Wisconsin, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical research. 

Over the span of 49 years, dedicated volunteers have played an integral role in bringing the Eagles Heart and Cancer Telethon to life. The unwavering commitment, heartfelt passion, countless hours, and boundless love invested by each of these remarkable individuals in this noble cause is eternally appreciated and serves as an enduring source of inspiration. It fuels our relentless determination to continually enhance the telethon, year after year, in our tireless pursuit of advancing heart and cancer research and extending support to those grappling with the impact of this disease.