The Radel Pavilion on the Steele County fairgrounds was filled with luminary bags, auction items, walkers and, most of all, hope for Friday's relay for life.

Cancer survivor Kim Reuvers delivered a powerful and hopeful message about getting screenings, living healthy and continuing the fight even after beating cancer once. She conveyed the devastation of the words, "You have cancer," when delivered by your doctor.

Steele County Relay for Life committee member Mary Boettger honored committee volunteers Loren and LaVonne Reiter, Reuvers' parents, for their dedication to the cause. Boettger said, "None of this would get done" without them. She said the Reiters help assemble the luminary bags and picked up many of the items for the 150 auction baskets. Over 2,500 luminary bags lined the walking path with more being purchased as the night unfolded.

The relay brings teams together to walk in shifts in support of those who battle cancer. Owatonna's event began with a large group of cancer survivors marching around the track, led by a color guard. Caregivers took a lap afterward. According to the Steele County relay website, top fundraising individuals included Jim Holst and Nicole Schuette at nearly $5,000 apiece. The top teams were Strength To Carry On and Rylie's Crew at over $8,000 each.

Boettger indicated the event raised more than $73,000 as the relay began and didn't include the auction items. You can still donate through their website.

The 24th annual event was moved inside the pavilion due to the forecast of rain and the time necessary to set up the event. A few years ago a storm swept in during the relay and put a damper on it. Friday's event was shortened to a six-hour relay, rather than going overnight. Kids activities including a bounce house were offered. The 4-H food stand was open. Several teams held their own grill outs as well. Musical entertainment include the Stix of Fury.

Saturday morning featured the Daikin Dash for Cancer. A good-sized group of runners and walkers turned out at the fairgrounds for the 5K in warm, muggy conditions.

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