Pay It Forward: Steve & Heidi Gage

November 17, 2016 07:21 PM

(ABC 6 News) - For the past few weeks, we've been introducing you to people "paying it forward" in our communities. Tonight, we talk to a brother and sister who have worked for the past 7 years to raise money for cancer research... never knowing how close to home it would hit. ABC 6 News Olivia York has ABC 6 News - Home Federal Bank "Pay It Forward."    

You could say bean bags are a midwestern tradition everyone loves to play. There are even a number of annual tournaments like the Cabin Fever tournament which started back in 2010. 


"They started small, raised $5,000 the first year. This last year was their 7th," said Cindy Swenson. "They have raised over $300,000."

The tournament was the brain child of several people, including brother and sister Steve and Heidi Gage. The end goal is to donate all the money raised to cancer research. 

"Cancer is something that you'd be hard pressed to find anybody who hasn't been affected by it in some fashion," said Steve.  

That now includes Steve and Heidi themselves. 

"We lost my dad a little over a year ago," said Steve. "He was diagnosed 2 years ago and we lost him last year." 

"We had already been doing the Cabin Fever and raising the funds long before my dad was diagnosed, but it just makes it a little more real," said Heidi. "So last year it was hard to not have him there." 

That's the reason Cindy Swenson nominated Steve and Heidi for an ABC 6 News - Home Federal Bank - Pay It Forward award, which of course comes with a cash prize of $600. 

"Are you ready Cindy? I am. Thank you so much KAAL and Home Federal for doing this. Alright, let's head out." 

We caught up with Steve and Heidi at a meeting for next year's Cabin Fever tournament. 

"I nominated you guys and you guys won because I told your story about your father dying from cancer, and just all the good you guys do in this community for the last 8 years," explains Cindy. 

"Knowing that they worked really hard to raise this money and when it is actually your own family it's more heartfelt and they just have really continued to want to give back. So I guess i just want them to feel that what they're doing is worthwhile," she said. 

"It's extremely humbling and emotional," said Steve. "I'm sure this $600 will go right back into the Cabin Fever and the fight against cancer. 

The 2017 Cabin Fever Bean Bag tournament is scheduled for March 11th at the Rochester International Event Center. There is a registration fee to play, but otherwise it is free and open to the public. You can learn more about the group by clicking here.


Olivia York

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