What kind of an impact has Relay For Life made in Redwood County?

For Gary Guggisberg, 2017 Redwood County Caregiver of the Year, the dollars raised through Relay For Life helped to fund the research that improved treatments and technologies that gave his family another five-and-a-half years with his wife after she was diagnosed with cancer.

“You bought us more time,” Guggisberg said, adding as time went on more time was added because of new options offered that did not even exist when his wife was first diagnosed.

Guggisberg added he has learned the importance of putting others first, and has seen evidence of that through those involved with Relay For Life.

“Keep fighting the great fight and keep up the great work,” he said during the Redwood County Relay For Life opening ceremony July 21.

For Nancy Revier, Redwood County 2017 Relay For Life honorary chair, Relay For Life is a time for camaraderie among those who have survived the “c” word. 

“We are the purple shirts,” Revier said, referring to those shirts worn by survivors at Relay For Life. “You are the survivors. For those of you who are just starting your journey, look around. You are not alone. You are part of a brotherhood and a sisterhood of people who are here to help make your journey a little bit easier.”

Bob Dehncke, son of Jo Ann Dehncke, who was killed in a traffic crash Nov. 18, 2016, talked about the passion his mom had and the impact Relay For Life had on her life.

Along with faith, family, football and friends, Relay For Life was one of her priorities, he said.

“For Mom is was never about being the top fundraiser,” Dehncke said. “It was always about helping the cause. When one Relay was over, she was already starting her work on the next.”

There were 12 teams and more than 200 people who took part in the 2017 Relay For Life event July 21 at the Redwood County Fairgrounds in Redwood Falls.

More than 60 survivors registered.

According to Jane Moody, Redwood County Relay For Life committee member, the event raised more than $70,000 for the American Cancer Society.

On behalf of those who coordinated this year’s event, Moody offered a big “thank you” to all who attended the Relay For Life event and those who supported the cause.

Jennifer Evans, American Cancer Society staff partner, said the funds raised at this year’s event will be used to provide free information and support for people who are facing cancer today.

It will also be used to fund cancer research to help protect future generations.

“It was inspirational to see people from all parts of the county come out to support us and help save lives from cancer,” said Evans. “Together, we celebrated those surviving cancer, remembers loved ones lost and tool tangible action to make a difference.”

While the event was moved indoors due to the threat of storms, Evans said this year’s Relay For Life was a success, as those involved were able to express to others the purpose and the passion behind what it means to be part of the event.

Funds are still being collected through the end of August for the current Relay For Life year, and donations can be made at www.relayforlife.org/redwoodcountymn.

After assessing this year’s event, Evans said plans will begin for 2018.

A meeting is being held Aug. 14 at the Pizza Ranch in Redwood Falls starting at 5:30 p.m. Among the items for discussion that night will be the location for the 2018 event, said Evans.

Everyone is welcome to attend.