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Cancer-fighting campaign begins with ice fishing

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Ice fishing on Austin's East Side Lake

AUSTIN, Minn. (KTTC) - Started by the Austin Bruins, the Paint the Town Pink has become a year-long series of events that raises money and awareness for cancer research. The Hormel Institute's annual event aims for a record number of dollars and events in its 10th year.

In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, ice fishing is a winter tradition.

"I've been doing it since I was a kid with my grandfather," said ice fisherman Ron Schroeder.

In Austin, raising money for cancer research has become just as much of a tradition.

"I love to ice fish but I love the cause," said Fish for a Cure coordinator Glenn Newman.

The Fish for a Cure event has raised more than $26,000 last year. It first began with employees at Hormel.

"It originally started as a fishing contest that we had for some of the guys that we worked with," recalls Newman. "It kinda got bigger and bigger every year."

The Fish for a Cure event isn't all about the catch, but there are awards on the line.

"It's just about having fun, supporting the community and donating money to the institute," said Newman.

Many of the participants are local regulars.

"A lot of these people have been here years and years but every year you see new faces," Newman said.

The event draws fisherman from all over the area, such as Ron Schroeder, who got recruited while visiting a friend in Austin.

"I came down here to see him and we did this one last year," Schroeder said. "Trying it again this year to see if we can some fish."

For those trying to catch fish, having technology such as phone apps and electronic fish finders is essential, as is a lot of time and layers.

"Dress warm and you just gotta have patience," Newman said. "I'm going to say patience is your best bet."

While some years the fish haven't been biting, it's all about finding the right part of the lake.

"They come down to one spot and if you find that spot, you can catch your limit in no time," said Schroeder.

The event continued with a silent auction and food at the Eagles Club. In one week, the campaign returns to East Side Lake for the Plunging for Pink event.

Alex Tejada

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