Semi tractor raffle raises more than $90K for cancer research - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Semi tractor raffle raises more than $90K for cancer research

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A year-long and local fundraising effort ended this weekend, netting tens of thousands of dollars for the fight against cancer.

KWWL first told the story of Worthington's Eldon Jaeger in Feb. 2013. He donated and then helped build and customize a semi tractor - all in the name of fighting cancer.

The Peterbilt 379 is bright purple, with cancer ribbons on the side.

"My wife's had uterine, had Hodgkin's," said Mike Heiderscheit Saturday afternoon, pointing out the two corresponding cancer ribbons on the side off the semi tractor. "She got Hodgkin's five days before her 18th birthday, and in 2004 she started dealing with uterine cancer."

Heiderscheit helped build this semi tractor, which was inspired by his wife Brenda's legacy, as well as all those that lost their battle with cancer.

"She passed away on January 18th of 2011," Heiderscheit said. "You think about it every day. It's just something you gotta deal with. It helps out in talking to other people who had cancer and had to go through it, and I've talked to quite a few today here at the Midwest Pride in Your Ride truck show."

Jaeger is Heiderscheit's father-in-law. Jaeger and his wife Barb have been bringing the semi tractor to shows across the country since May 2013, selling raffle tickets at $10 a chance to win the Peterbilt. All the money will go to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, to help fund cancer research in memory of the Jaegers' daughter Brenda.

"She lived 14 and a half years with cancer, and my feeling is if somebody before her wouldn't have done something for cancer, she'd have never lived that long," Eldon Jaeger said. "We will never know how many people this truck will actually help."

On Saturday, at the 4th annual Midwest Pride in Your Ride Truck Show at the Tri-States Raceway in Earlville, the winning raffle ticket was drawn from a well-mixed barrel containing more than 9,000 entries.

"From Canton, Michigan," Jaeger read from the winning raffle ticket, "Brittany Dunigan."

Dunigan was not present at the event, so Jaeger called her up, put her on speaker phone and held his phone up to the event's microphone, so the crowd of hundreds could hear her reaction.

"Yes, this is Brittany Dunigan," she confirmed.

"Well, your ticket has been drawn for the Long Haul Survivor," Jaeger told her.

"Ah-- are you telling me I won that purple Peterbilt??" she said with delighted surprise.

At that, the crowd burst into laughter and applause.

The winner also has the option of choosing $18,000 in cash. If she does, the purple semi tractor will be auctioned off, and all that money will go to the American Cancer Society as well.

Between the more than $90,000 raised from raffle tickets and the more than $40,000 raised from the event, this year's Midwest Pride in Your Ride truck show will supply the American Cancer Society with well over $130,000, and all in honor of Brenda and others who lost their battle with cancer.

"I would think that she'd have to be awful proud of it," Jaeger said, "that this many people have come together to do this and support this."

In its four years, the Midwest Pride in Your Ride truck show has raised more than $150,000 for the American Cancer Society, not including the money raised from the truck raffle.

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