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‘Time to pay it back’

cancer fundraiser, lisa hanson
A May 19 event at the Owatonna VFW will benefit Lisa Hanson, pictured with her husband, Randy, as she battles stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer. Her parents are Wayne and Grace Steele of Owatonna. Submitted photo
Fundraiser helps local woman with kind heart
Joni Hubred, News Editor

Lisa Hanson has always been one to lend a hand whenever someone else needs help.

She has taken care of children for decades, as a childcare provider and, for 20-plus years, at Peace Lutheran Preschool in Faribault.

“I’ve known Lisa since she was a little girl,” said Todd Utpadel, whose cousin Wayne Steele is Lisa’s father. “There’s not a kinder heart anywhere.”

Sadly, Hanson was recently diagnosed with stage IV, non-small-cell lung cancer. Over the past month, she has started radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

Coincidentally, Utpadel early this year launched an effort he calls “Musicians Against Cancer,” after losing a couple of friends to the disease in 2023. He has been an auctioneer with the Blooming Prairie Cancer Group and when he learned about its Community Fund, he started raising funds for it. The Fund provides direct financial assistance to patients and their families who have critical needs.

“Those are the people who really need the help,” Utpadel said. “There are people who are losing their homes.”

Knowing the struggle Hanson and her family would go through, he decided to start supporting them early, with a referral to the Community Fund and a GoFundMe account that has so far raised about half of a $20,000 goal.

There are two events this weekend that will allow others to join the effort. Utpadel will be playing at Spare Time Entertainment in Owatonna on Saturday evening, with funds raised benefiting Hanson, and a larger May 19 fundraiser at the Owatonna VFW will include a pulled pork sandwich meal (free-will donation), silent auction, bake sale, and more. Items up for bids will include a wood wall piece crafted by Lisa’s brother Christopher Steele, a quilt made by her daughter, and themed baskets.

Utpadel said there’s no specific goal set, “but we’re hoping to raise close to $20,000. Whatever we raise is going to be a big help to the family.”

“Lisa’s always the first one in line when somebody needs help,” he added. “It’s time to pay it back to Lisa.”


Cancer Benefit

Who: Lisa Hanson

When: Sunday, May 19, 12-5 p.m.

Where: Owatonna VFW, 135 Oakdale St.

What: Pulled pork sandwich meal, silent auction, bake sale & more


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