They've battled heat, humidity, wind and thunderstorms over the last two-and-a-half decades. But that's still nothing compared to the battle many faced after hearing the sentence, "You've got cancer." The Steele County Relay for Life was held for the 25th time Friday night on the county fairgrounds. Relay teams enjoyed very pleasant weather this year.

Walkers have raised over $2,000,000 locally over those years. Twenty teams this year brought in about $45,000 in addition to other fundraising activities on Friday including a silent auction and dunk tank. The top fund raising team was named "Strength to Carry On."

The money has made a difference. Peggy Paul with the American Cancer Society in Rochester spoke of the research being done at the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic and Hormel Institute. She said in many cases cancer is no longer a fatal disease, though still a chronic one. She urged people to get screenings to catch the diagnosis as soon as possible.

Five honorary chairs led cancer survivors on the first lap of the relay. The five are Gary Corson, Beckie VonRuden, Royetta Spurgeon, Cheri Krejci and Chatelle Seykora. Hundreds of survivors, caregivers, families and supporters attended Friday night's event.

The VFW Post 3723 Color Guard presented the colors Friday and Owatonna schools superintendent Jeff Elstad sang the National Anthem. Father Jim Starasinich delivered the invocation. The relay committee members were recognized on stage. KRFO's John Connor emceed the proceedings.

Entertainment was provided by the Stix of Fury, Luverne Wanous and Ryan and Barry Gillespie. The Daikin Dash for Cancer 5K run or walk has been a part of the Steele County Relay for Life for a few years as well.