Archived Story

Killebrew Ride will benefit Lakeland Hospice

Published 8:35am Monday, February 18, 2013

Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Fame Twins baseball player, was known as a man with a gentle heart and a killer swing. What many don’t know, according to Tammy Anderson with Lakeland Hospice, is that he also carried with him a love of hospice care.

He was on hospice for cancer when he recovered and fell in love with the philosophy of the end-of life care he had received. He became a volunteer for hospice, and he and his wife, Nita, became lifelong advocates of hospice.

When he died of esophageal cancer in 2011, his wife wanted to carry on his legacy and love of hospice with some kind of event.

Tammy Anderson, Lakeland Hospice Foundation Fund Development Coordinator, met Nita when she wrote a letter thanking her and her husband for being such strong advocates of hospice care.

Nita and Anderson then met and brainstormed ways to further awareness of and raise money for hospice.

What evolved is the Harmon Killebrew Hospice Day, planned Aug. 17, in which fans of baseball, Harmon Killebrew or hospice can take in a Minnesot Twins game, tailgate party or motorcycle ride to the game, where a one-of-a-kind Harley Davidson motorcycle will be awarded to a lucky ticketholder.

The idea to give away a Harley motorcycle was inspired by Harmon’s wish to ride a Harley, though he never got the chance, and was handpainted by artist Craig Godfrey from Montivideo. Apol’s in Alexandria provided the 2013 Road King Harley motorcycle.

Hospices throughout the state will benefit from this event, said Anderson, simply by the awareness created from the focus on hospice.

Among the activites scheduled are a bus caravan to the game, a tailgating party, first pitch thrown out by a special dignitary, special singer for the anthem and of course, the Twins game against the Chicago Red Sox, along with other events that day.

Business partners include Nita Killebrew and family, KLN Family Brands and the Minnesota Twins organization.

To date, Anderson said 18 fan buses are making the trip to the game and more are expected to fill before Aug. 17.

Here’s a rundown of the events planned to date:

The Lakeland Hospice Foundation, together with Harmon’s wife, Nita Killebrew, the Minnesota Twins and KLN Family Brands, are hosting a Harmon Killebrew Hospice Day at Target Field event Saturday, Aug 17. The game is a 6:10 p.m. premier game against the Chicago White Sox.

There are a number of ways to get to the game where fans will enjoy a pre-game ceremony which will include a special person throwing out the first pitch, a special guest singing the national anthem and much more.

Organizers have created a one-of-a-kind Harmon Killebrew 2013 Road King Harley motorcycle that will be raffled off at the game. Dan Gladden will ride the Harmon raffle Harley onto the field where Harmon’s wife, Nita Killebrew will draw the winning ticket.

Get to the game using any of the following transportation options:

• Fan Buses — Join Lakeland Hospice staff on one of the many fan buses. For $100 each you can ride on a comfortable charter bus to and from the game. This price includes a ride on the bus, ticket to the game in our “Hospice Fans” sections, a tailgating party with Nita Killebrew and more. Children must be accompanied by an adult. A person must be able to climb stairs at Target Field. Limited handicapped seats may be available.

• Sponsoring a bus — If you are interested in hosting your very own “Fan Bus” through your business or family and friends, check out the “Bus Blitz” sponsor page on Lakeland Hospice’s website, www.lakelandhospicehomecare.org

• By Car — If you don’t want to ride a bus but still want to sit in our designated “Hospice Fan Sections” you can purchase tickets from Lakeland Hospice for $75 each. Call us at 218-998-1423 for details.

• By Motorcycle — As part of the Lakeland Hospice Harmon Killebrew Hospice Day at Target Field, organizers are hosting Harmon’s Ride for Hospice on Saturday, Aug 17. Bikes from all over will meet up in the community of Big Lake where Lakeland Hospice and its business partners will host a tailgating party and then hop the light rail train to the front door of Target Field. (Your bikes will be under the watch of security). Once at Target Field, bikers will be asked meet in front of Harmon’s statue on the plaza for a photo with Nita Killebrew and then head into the ballpark for the Twins game against the Chicago White Sox.

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