Barten breakfast was fit for a warrior princess

Emma German and her family, brother Brady, mom Keriann and dad Chris, felt blessed with the show of support during the Roman Barten Memorial Breakfast in New Prague on Sunday, April 7. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

When Emma German stopped to shake hands with University of Minnesota head football Coach Jerry Kill, it was probably one of the few times she slowed down during the Roman Barten Memorial Breakfast. Coach Kill and his wife Rebecca were surprise guests during the sixth annual breakfast on Sunday, April 7, at the KC Hall in New Prague.

An estimated 1,200 people attended the breakfast to raise funds for Emma, daughter of Chris and Keriann German of Belle Plaine.

"We feel very blessed," said Chris about the turnout.

During the event Emma, age 6, and brother Brady, 8, were at the children’s activity area or busy meeting people.

Emma was diagnosed in August 2010 with nuroblastoma, a form of cancer. After a fight that included intense chemotherapy, surgery and a stem cell transplant, the cancer went into remission. Last December, the cancer returned and Emma is in chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Through her battle shepicked up the nickname "Amazing Emma, Warrior Princess."

"That’s something that I used to describe her when she was first going through treatment," said Keriann. "She took everything with a smile. She realized this was something she needed to do and she never complained. She’s always been a princess. It came to me that she was a warrior princess."

Chris said they felt a lot of gratitude to their family, the Barten family for choosing them, and co-workers for volunteering. "It’s hard to describe the gratitude we’re feeling," said Chris.

Volunteers at the event included the Barten family, Chris’ co-workers from Rahr Malting Company and Brewers Supply in Shakopee and Strait Smiles Family Dentistry in Belle Plaine, where Keriann worked.

Fran Barten, who helps organize the event with her children, said they had 40 volunteers and they had two shifts. "It was a huge success," she said of the breakfast.

It was her son-in-law Tyler Yearby, who is part of the university’s football staff, and his wife Kate who invited the Kills to attend the event. Kill is himself a cancer survivor. He and Rebecca started the Coach Kill Cancer Fund to help families in southern Illinois with the expenses of treatment.

"I think through my situation if I could help out I would and come down on Emma’s benefit," said Kill, adding it was a tremendous cause. The couple attended church and after Kill made an appearance on the Sid Hartman program they headed for New Prague. "We decided to come down, enjoy breakfast and make a donation. That’s what life is about."