Tough Enough Gala in Riverton

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Riverton community members attended the “Tough Enough Gala” to raise money for cancer patients.

Staff members of the “Help for Health” nonprofit organization hosted their annual event at the Fremont center. Money raised will help Fremont County residents with cancer pay for their expenses.

“The gala was started five years ago,” said Tough Enough Gala Chair Cinde Pfisterer. “This is the fifth one to help the fund that gives Fremont County residents up to $1,000 per individual who have been diagnosed with cancer.”

Attendees recognized cancer victims and survivors, and participated in dinner, various games, and silent and live auctions. Pfisterer said they raised close to $42,000 by the start of the evening.

“For house hold bills, for new tires on the car, because they travel so much to get to the doctor, all those kind of things, that’s what we help with,” said Help for Health Executive Director Rhonda Locker. “So annually they can request $1,000.”

$7,000 was raised by teenager Hayden Wempen and his friends. They sell tee-shirts through their group “Kids Being Tough”. “Wempen lost his mother to cancer and values his friend’s help.”

“I thought that was pretty cool,” said Wempen. “It hit my heart pretty good.”

His friend James Hampton said he thinks about how he would want others to respond if his mother had cancer.

“I’d want people to help out,” said Hampton. “I like helping him out. He’s like my brother.”

The Tough Enough to Help Cancer fund started in 2008 with an auction to sell pink chaps. Ed McAuslan bought a pair of pink chaps and reached out to Teresa Nirider, a member of the rodeo committee. Together with community members they created a fund for Fremont County cancer victims. Bobby and Joy Lane donated a pair of chinks. Together the chaps and chinks were auctioned for over $61,000 on a Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo night.

“There are several professional rodeo cowboys that wear pink all the time in support of cancer awareness or breast cancer,” said Wind River PRCA Rodeo Roundup Chairman John Campbell.

Pfisterer said Fremont County physicians have applications for cancer patients to apply for the money. Patients can also call Help for Health.