Breaking cabin fever for a good cause: The 29th annual benefit for Ronald McDonald House approaches

Don Larson, Debbie Sotebeer, Kathy Keiser, Kimberly Singer, Jesse Sailer and more at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Bismarck. (Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Bismarck)

For nearly three decades, the Dickinson Roughrider Commission has sponsored the annual Cabin Fever Benefit in Dickinson, with proceeds going to the Bismarck Ronald McDonald House. This year’s benefit, the 29th annual, will be held Saturday, Feb. 8. The benefit starts with a social and silent auction at 4 p.m. at the Dickinson Eagles Club.

Michelle Kovash joined the Cabin Fever Benefit committee 20 years ago.

“My involvement in the program started because my husband and I lost our second child, who was premature,” Kovash said. “I wanted to give back and help in some way knowing that I would have probably stayed at the Ronald McDonald house had he survived. Everyone who is part of the committee has different reasons for being part of this; some have been personally touched and have even stayed at the house themselves with an ill child. So they understand the difficulties that come with a sick child, both financially and emotionally.”

Kovash said that proceeds are used for a variety of projects that involve the community and the physical home in Bismarck.

“The event started in order to raise the money needed to build the house in Bismarck,” she said. “Since then we have continued by using the funds to aid families with traveling expenses to follow up with appointments with fuel cards.”


Kovash continued, “We also continue to support the Ronald McDonald House in Bismarck with upgrades and maintenance. This year we upgraded the phone system and key code system, and have even put in new windows, doors and a patio because the house is utilized a lot.”

Speakers at the event typically include families directly impacted by the Ronald McDonald House in Bismarck and the philontrophic endeavours of programs like the Cabin Fever Benefit in Dickinson.

Among the donated items thus far are a gift certificate, basket, towel and Himalayan salt crystals donated by Salt of the Earth; a custom Harley-Davidson and Ford bench built and donated by Phil Reisenauer; a wine basket donated by Shirley Dukart; a white and silver Apple iWatch donated by East End Auto. These items and more will be available through the auction throughout the evening, and a raffle drawing will be held after midnight. Many items are donated the day of the event.

Raffle tickets are available at $10 each, with up to four $100 cash prizes being offered throughout the evening. Winners must be present to win.

A beef barbecue will be served starting at 6 p.m, and a Midnight Breakfast including pancakes, sausage and scrambled eggs will be served following the entertainment. Musical entertainment will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be provided by E-Z Street.

The committee continues to accept donations for its silent and oral auctions, anything from lawn mowers and weed eaters to pictures and belt buckles.

The admission tickets are $10 at the door, with advance tickets available from Roughrider Commission members, the Dickinson Eagles Club and the Cabin Fever Committee members.

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Bismarck is "to improve the lives of children and their families." The organization supports programs aimed at furthering their mission, including the Ronald McDonald House and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile and the RMHC School Based Sealant Program.


The Ronald McDonald House of Bismarck serves families of seriously ill children as a temporary "home away from home" while undergoing medical treatment in Bismarck.

“We are proud to serve the patients of Sanford Health and CHI St. Alexius Health as well as many other local medical and dental facilities,” a statement from The Ronald McDonald House of Bismarck read. “The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, is a state-of-the-art mobile dental clinic that delivers urgently needed dental care to underserved children ages 0 through 21 in their own neighborhoods in the western half of North Dakota, which benefits like the one in Dickinson help support.”

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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