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Escape winter blues: Attend this year's Cabin Fever Benefit

Declare a timeout from winter and take in the 27th annual Ronald McDonald Cabin Fever Benefit.

The benefit is Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Eagles Club in Dickinson. The social hour starts at 4 p.m. and the beef barbecue is served at 6 p.m. E-Z Street is providing the dancing music. A midnight breakfast concludes the party.

“It’s a great benefit to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House for sick kids and their families,” said Renee Erickson, Cabin Fever president. “And it’s a very good time of the year -- people want to get out of the house. Come and enjoy visiting with everybody and help us make some money.”

The benefit is hosted by the Dickinson Roughrider Commission, with it’s Cabin Fever subcommittee making arrangements.

“I totally believe in this cause -- I’ve had friends use this home -- it’s such a great bonus not to pay motel fees. It becomes their home,” Erickson said.

The committee has been rounding up raffle items for the live and silent auctions.

“We have pretty much anything, but a lot of western items. We’ve had businesses donate grills, a generator, bikes and guns,” she said.

The raffle also is unlike any other -- choice of trips to the National Finals Rodeo, PBR finals or NASCAR race in Las Vegas. Other prizes include cash prizes, beef and a TV.

E-Z Street has been invited to come back for the dance.

“Participants love to dance to their country western music -- it’s easy listening music,” she said.

The committee works closely with management of the Ronald McDonald House in deciding where the proceeds go each year. In addition, the committee sets aside cash for gas cards when families of ill children must travel for medical care.

Ronald McDonald House

The staff of the Ronald McDonald House in Bismarck piles into cars and heads west every February for the Cabin Fever Benefit.

“I’ve only missed one the year my mother died,” said Kathy Keiser, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. “We love it, we have developed such good friendships over the years. Mike Kelley (owner of McDonald’s Restaurant in Dickinson) has been a guardian angel of the house long before it opened.”

The Ronald McDonald House provides temporary housing for families of seriously ill children while they receive treatment in Bismarck and Mandan hospitals and clinics.

“We provide a way to keep families close to each other when they need each other the most,” Keiser said.

The charities incorporated in 1989, and Keiser was one of the founding mothers when the house opened in July of 1992. Since that time, more than 4,700 families from western North Dakota have used its services.

“The Roughrider Commission's Cabin Fever Benefit is absolutely one of our very best friends that the Ronald McDonald House could have,” she said. “They are just such wonderful strong supporters of ours.”

The Cabin Fever proceeds are directed at bigger projects for the house-- carpeting the floors, replacing the windows or purchasing materials for the decking. They’ve included bedding and towels -- things that directly support the families. The 2018 proceeds will likely help finance installation of the deck. The money raised by the Dickinson benefit is spent in Dickinson.

“I love how that happens, money raised there, generates business for the people who support the benefit -- it goes full circle,” she said.

The Ronald McDonald House has eight private bedrooms with baths. It is staffed by resident managers and volunteers 24 hours, 365 days a year. “There’s always somebody there -- we could not exist without our wonderful volunteers.”

Cabin Fever tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door. Tickets are available from Commission members, the Eagles Club and Cabin Fever committee members.