Giving back; Abilene rodeo fan benefits from cancer fund

Ron Shivers, posing with his wife Doris, has benefitted from the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund. The Abilene man has served on the Central Kansas Free Fair board and loves the Abilene rodeo.

Ron Shivers hasn’t missed many nights of the Abilene rodeo.

Whether it was in the stands, watching his favorite event, the bull riding, or helping out as a member of the Central Kansas Free Fair board, he was there.

He believes in giving back, and for him, serving on the fair board for fifteen years was a way to give back to the community of Abilene.

And the community was able to give back to him, in a way.

When the 79 year old was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, he ended up going through six cycles of chemotherapy, three times a week, for six weeks. That was followed up with 35 days of radiation. Five days a week for seven weeks, he made the 30 mile trip to the hospital in Salina.

And when funds ran a bit low, the Elsie Brooks Memorial Cancer Fund was there, to help with mileage expenses.

The Fund, which was begun in 1993 by Brooks, a Dickinson County Resident, provides monies to cancer patients who live in Dickinson County. Monies are not restricted due to income.

Shivers believes in giving back. He was raised on a dairy farm northwest of Abilene, and in 1982, began in the auction business. He drove truck for a few years, and then added real estate and appraisal services to his auctioneering.

He’s glad that he could volunteer on the fair board for fifteen years. He did it, in part, to pay back the community “for supporting my auction business,” he said. “You get a lot out of the community, and they help you, and then it’s time to give something back to them.”

He also volunteered with the fair board because he loves rodeo. “I’ve been going to rodeos all my life,” he said. His family goes with him, but when it rains, they head for the car. Not him. “I’ve sat a few times in the rain, out there, and the family all left me.”

The money he received from the Elsie Brooks Fund was “a godsend,” Shivers said.

The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo contributes donations to the Elsie Brooks Fund through its annual Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on August 4. Fans are asked to wear pink; rodeo committee members, volunteers, and cowboys and cowgirls will be in pink. Voluntary donations will be accepted for the Elsie Brooks Fund that night. Since the partnership began in 2008, over $28,000 has been raised for the Fund.

In June, doctors found no sign of the cancer. He and his wife Doris, who have been married 44 years, live in Abilene.

The Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo runs August 2-5 and begins at 7:30 pm each night. Tickets range in price from $7 to $13 and can be purchased online at www.ckff.net, at the fairgrounds, and at area retailers.

For more information on the Elsie Brooks Cancer Fund, contact Chris Ostermann at 785.479.3749. For more information on the Wild Bill Hickok Rodeo, visit the rodeo’s website at WildBillHickokRodeo.com or call the Central Kansas Free Fair office at 785.263.4570.

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