hot_dog_bar-web.jpgWhat started out as a student project in instructor Rob Johnston’s Principles of Management class at Mayville State University turned into a whole lot of goodwill for Mayville State University employee Sandy Popiela, who is battling cancer. Students Kaitlyn Timian from Arthur, N.D., Daniel Carroll from New Brighton, Minn., and Mike Lindsay from Becker, Minn. headed up a benefit that raised $1,900 to help defray Popiela’s medical expenses.

When assigned the task of carrying out a hands-on project where they would “pay it forward,” Kaitlyn, Daniel, and Mike used the opportunity to help their friend and someone who is special to many on the Mayville State campus, Ms. Sandy. Sandy manages the Comets Landing Snack Bar in the MSU Campus Center. At the time of the benefit, she had just begun treatment for cancer in her lungs, brain, lymph nodes, and ribs and chemotherapy treatment would be starting soon.

The trio enlisted the help of their friends and teammates on the Mayville State volleyball, women’s basketball, and men’s basketball teams to plan a benefit event Thursday, Nov. 21. Mayville State University hosted Finlandia University in home contests at the Lewy Lee Fieldhouse that evening.

A big part of the event was a hot dog bar where people could leave their freewill donations in exchange for hot dogs fresh off the grill and embellish them with a variety of toppings. Kaitlyn’s dad, Tim Timian, owner of Agri Valley Insurance & Timian Appraisal of Arthur, N.D., jumped in with both feet to help out. Not only did he sponsor the food for the benefit, he brought his grill and came to Mayville to cook and serve the food.  To top it off, he brought his friends Ladonna Faught and Jerry Madsen, to help out too. Brittany Olson, a Mayville State senior from Hunter, N.D. and former Comets volleyball player, was there to give her assistance with the hot dog bar, as well.

In the gym, members of the volleyball team helped by rebounding and taking money during a half-time event held during the women’s basketball game. For a $3 donation, people could take a three-point shot, or for $5, a half-court shot. A shot made meant a prize for the successful shooter. In addition, a bucket was passed through the crowd for people who chose to make a monetary contribution to the cause.

In addition to those who helped at the fund-raising event, a number of businesses contributed, as well. They are Heritage Bank of North Dakota, Hunter Branch; Hunter Agency; Hunter Café; Goose River Bank of Mayville, Hillsboro, and Hatton; First State Bank of North Dakota, Arthur Branch; Mary’s Market, Arthur, N.D.; Soholt Bakery, Mayville; Hardware Hank, Mayville; and Jacobson Studios, Mayville. Each of the Mayville State athletic teams donated T-shirts that were given out as prizes in the shooting contest.

“We are truly grateful for all who helped us with our project to help Sandy,” said Kaitlyn Timian. “This all started with three students, a class project, and an idea. The experience was so much more than just a project. I personally got to watch this community come together, all for a lady who could not be more deserving.”

One cannot help but be reminded of the classic song lyric, “I get by with a little help from my friends,” when reflecting on this project. By enlisting the help of their friends, three students were able to “pay it forward” for another friend in need, and according to Kaitlyn, “Best of all, it was to help someone who has touched so many at our school.”


Photo caption: A hot dog bar at the Nov. 21 home basketball games at Mayville State University helped to raise funds to assist Sandy Popeila with medical expenses. Pictured from left to right are Jerry Madsen, Tim Timian, Kaitlyn Timian, and Brittany Olson.