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Benefit planned April 21 for former Sibley teacher

The Kraayenbrink family poses with the special shirts sold as a fundraiser. Pictured are Jordan Roddel (from left), Nathan Kraayenbrink, Michelle Roddel, Steven DeVries, Katlyn DeVries, Mike, Laurie, Andrew Kraayenbrink and Lexy Kraayenbrink. (Special to The Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa — Osceola County volunteers and school groups are coming together to plan a fundraiser for one of their own.

Until last September, Mike Kraayenbrink had been teaching fifth- and sixth-grade language arts at Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School. He’d been heavily involved in coaching — basketball (most recently freshman coach) and volleyball, with football and baseball coaching earlier in his career.

A cancer diagnosis in October 2014 eventually led to Kraayenbrink’s resignation, first from coaching and then from teaching, said his wife, Laurie, who works with the school’s FFA chapter as well as at Jackrabbit Junction in Sibley.

In the past three and a half years Kraayenbrink has battled pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare cancer that originated in his appendix. The cancer has led to two surgeries and an ongoing low-dose chemotherapy treatment. He also has an abscess near his liver that requires draining.

WeCare of Osceola County, a group that has organized a handful of fundraisers for local families since its inception in 2012, is now organizing a carnival and “MIKE” basketball tournament as a fundraiser. The public is invited to take part in the array of activities planned from 5 to 8 p.m. April 21 at the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School, 120 11th Ave. N.E., Sibley.

Because of Kraayenbrink’s love for basketball, the tournament will feature two-person games of ‘MIKE’, based on the concept of the popular basketball game of ‘PIG’. Each team will consist of one randomly selected youth ages 8 to 15 and one randomly selected individual aged 16 and older.

The tournament is free for participants, and registrations are still being accepted by emailing Amie Elser at aelser@thegenerals.org or texting (712) 461-1720. Doors will open at 4 p.m., with the basketball tournament to start at 5 p.m. following the singing of the National Anthem by members of the Sibley-Ocheyedan Choir. Halftime entertainment will include a performance by the dance team; an ice cream eating contest featuring some of Kraayenbrink’s middle school co-workers and sponsored by The Porch on Main; Chuck-A-Duck, led by the school’s Athletic Boosters; and more.

The Sibley-Ocheyedan Band Boosters will operate a concession stand throughout the evening, serving grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with chips. The Athletic Boosters will sell candy, beverages, popcorn and cotton candy.

Members of the school’s FFA chapter will conduct a carnival during the evening, selling two for $1 tickets to play Skee Ball, Plinko, ring toss and bean bags for prizes. They will also have a face-painting booth and sell soft-serve ice cream.

Meanwhile, a bake sale and silent auction will be ongoing throughout the evening. DJ Bob Vos will provide the music, and a KIWA radio personality will be the MC. Jackrabbit Junction/Cenex is coordinating the silent auction. Donations are still being accepted and may be dropped off at the high school office, according to Brad Willemssen, chairman of WeCare of Osceola County.

Monetary donations will be collected at the door the evening of the fundraiser.

All of the proceeds raised during the event will go directly to the Kraayenbrinks, Willemssen added.

Those unable to attend may send donations to WeCare, 553 Golf View Drive, Sibley, Iowa 51249. Checks should be addressed to WeCare, with “Kraayenbrink” in the memo line.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at The Farm Bleat

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