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Central Minnesota student raises thousands of dollars for peers who can't afford milk

Haley Dellaneva, right, her mother, Brenda Dellaneva, and sister-in-law Tracy Stephens, all help with the annual Haley's Milk Run, which is held every June and starts and ends at Sickies Garage in Fargo. Dave Olson / The Forum

FARGO — Haley Dellaneva was around the age of 9 and attending Fargo Public Schools when she brought a note home from school that asked families to do what they could to help students who couldn't afford to pay for milk.

The Dellaneva household took the request seriously.

Haley Dellaneva scraped together some of her own money and other family members pitched in as well.

Then they took it to the next level — they organized a fundraising event that centered on an annual motorcycle ride.

The event was given the name "Haley's Milk Run" and the seventh annual ride was held this past June, starting and ending where it traditionally does at Sickies Garage, a restaurant in south Fargo that is host to a number of fundraising activities during the year.

Haley Dellaneva is now 17 and a student at Perham (Minn.) High School.

During the summer milk runs, she still rides on the back of the Harley Davidson driven by her father, Paul, and she said she looks forward to the day when she can ride a motorcycle of her own in the fundraiser, which has collected more than $175,000 to provide milk to elementary school students in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.

"It makes us very proud," Brenda Dellaneva said, referring to the efforts of her daughter, adding that parents always hope their child grows up to be a good person and in the case of Haley, "she did."

Paul Dellaneva said one reason for his daughter's passion for kindness and giving may have been the experience of her brother, who was diagnosed with cancer at an early age and was cancer free for nine years after he received treatment.

Unfortunately, he said, the family learned earlier this year that the cancer had returned and further treatment was necessary.

As a high school student, Haley Dellaneva took additional classes to become a certified nursing assistant, and she now works part time at a nursing home in Perham.

She said she likes the job and intends to pursue a career in the medical field.

As for the fundraising, she was recently recognized by the Moorhead School District, which presented her with its Spud Award, and she is set to receive another humanitarian award in coming days.

Haley Dellaneva said the credit for Haley's Milk Runs belongs not just to her but to many others who help make them happen, including Scott Upton, part owner of Sickies Garage, which hosted the runs the past five years.

"Yes, it's my name," she said, "but it's not just me."