Troesters to be honored during July 14 Relay for Life

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Fran and Al Troester, both cancer survivors and caregivers, are very involved with the American Cancer Society in northeast Iowa. They will be honored at the opening ceremonies of the July 14 Clayton County Relay for Life. (Photo submitted)

By Molly Moser

Guttenberg residents Fran and Al Troester have been chosen as the honorary survivors and caregivers for the the annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Clayton County to be held July 14 at the Clayton County Fairgrounds in National. 

Both Fran and Al are cancer survivors and have cared for each other through several bouts with the disease, and both are heavily involved in work with the American Cancer Society (ACS).  They sell and deliver daffodils and other gifts of hope in the spring, and serve as chairpersons for the Survivor Development Committee at the Clayton County Relay for Life each summer. In addition to their roles as committee chairpersons, the couple also heads a relay team. Fran was named the Hero of Hope at the Northeast Iowa Region ACS Conference.

Last January, she learned her cancer had returned yet again. Having experienced several years of treatments, Fran was ready for the fight. After learning that traditional cancer treatment methods were no longer an option for her, she joined a trial and is currently using a new pill to help fight the disease. She continues to keep her attitude positive, saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

“Fran was chosen because of her perseverance. Hearing you have to go on a trial treatment because the normal cancer fighting treatments will no longer work can take a toll on you. Fran made the decision to fight. Fran made the decision to say I have not lived a full life yet – I have more to give. And she does,” said Kelly Nielsen, senior community development manager of the north region of the American Cancer Society. “Fran and Al are one of the many reasons I love waking up in the morning and working for the American Cancer Society.”

The Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to save lives from cancer. Uniting communities across the globe, the event celebrates people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action for lifesaving change. During Relay for Life events, members of each team take turns walking or running around a track or path. 

Teams participate in fundraising in the months leading up to the event, and all community members can get involved in the event by forming a team or making a donation to the Relay For Life of Clayton County. Visit to learn more about the event. 

Funds raised during the Relay will help the American Cancer Society provide free information and support for people facing the disease today, and fund cancer research that will help protect future generations. Survivor registration begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 14. The Troesters will be honored during the 5 p.m. opening ceremonies, when they’ll share their stories and inspiration for continuing to fight cancer. 

Opening ceremonies will also include a dove release, a survivor lap and the National Anthem. Ice cream will be served at 5:30, a band begins at 6 p.m., and there will be a bounce house and carnival games for youth. A massage therapist will be giving massages until 8:30 p.m. and a silent auction is also being held. 

The 5K run/walk begins at 6:30 p.m. The German Band will play at 7 and at 7:30 p.m., the Sheriff K9 will do a meet-and-greet as well as a demonstration. A Celebrate Ceremony begins at 8 p.m. with a caregiver lap, sponsor and team recognition, a team lap, and the announcement of the 5K winners. A luminary ceremony will be held at 9 and closing ceremonies are scheduled for 10 p.m. 

"Our family has been loaded with cancer, and we even lost our younger daughter to it when she was only 42, so we're very strong on supporting the cancer drive," said Fran. 

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