Nailing Down a Cure

Little pink house hopes to raise money for cancer research

by Julie Koerber

With 36 years of construction under his belt, one thing is for sure, Jeff Junkert has never built a house in shades of pale bubblegum pink and sage green– until now. When the siding went up with all of the intricate detail, this ‘little pink house’ was one of a kind. It is a house on a mission with a pretty special story behind it.

     “In a team meeting, we were going through ways we could raise money for our Relay for Life team. Our theme is ‘Nailing Down a Cure’ and that is really where our heart is – in construction,” says Sue Junkert of Jeff Junkert Construction. “Knowing that, I said ‘We could build a playhouse!’ and Jeff looked at me and said, ‘Yes. We could.”

     Since that first meeting in April, days have been spent dreaming up a plan and finding ways to doll up this 9 foot by 6 foot free standing playhouse. It’s one that with time has taken on a Craftsman Era look accented with shakes and a little front porch. The inside of the house is decked out with Pottery Barn Kids furniture and the set up is perfect for afternoon tea parties. Sue says, “The playhouse is just very girly! The walls have butterflies all over them. There is a little table with little tea cups and plates. The stove and sink are pink. It is just too cute.

     This project is extra special for the entire crew. Just last year, Sue battled breast cancer and underwent surgery and radiation to rid her body of the cancer inside.  Now cancer free, Sue says this project has been a way to give back and say thanks to others for their kindness and prayers.

     “It is just my way to represent that feeling, that never ending hope that we have to beat cancer. That is the bottom line. With the Relay for Life, so many people selflessly pull together to raise money and I just wanted to be a part of that.” Jeff added that this construction project has been extra special for him as well. “This is pretty close to my heart with my wife experiencing cancer.” While Sue admits that the event will be sobering, she also knows, “Watching some little girl light up with her new playhouse – that is going to be the joy in all of it.”

     Across town at Carpet One, Owner Randy Mostad and interior designer Sarah Wise are helping put the finishing touches on the inside of the playhouse. As partners on the Jeff Junkert Construction relay team, they knew that this was one project they had to roll up their sleeves and get involved in.

     “My wife lost her mom to cancer. I lost my step dad to cancer. My father-in-law is a cancer survivor. When they say that nobody is unaffected by cancer, they are right on,” Randy will tell you. “What a wonderful event for a great cause. This playhouse is going to be a really unique item there.”

     If you ask event organizers, this playhouse fit for a girl is one of the largest auction items the Relay for Life event has ever seen. Auction organizer Roni Baker says, “We have never had anything of this size. It is very unique! We hope it is going to raise a lot of money for cancer research.”  Not to mention, make some little girl in our community extremely happy.

25th Annual

Relay for Life

Friday & Saturday

July 10 - July 11, 2009

The relay will get underway on July 10th around the West High School track at 2201 St. Johns Avenue starting at 7:00 PM. Silent auction tables will be unveiled at 6:00 PM and will close between 9:00 and 10:00 PM. Hundreds of items will be auctioned under three tents and this arm of the fundraiser is expected to bring in more than $14,000.  Overall, the American Cancer Society hopes to raise in excess of $700,000 to benefit cancer research. For more information, you can contact Karrie Erickson with the American Cancer Society at 256-7156.