2012 Relay for Life

(slideshow)There was an abundance of emotions at the 2012 Chisago County Relay for Life Friday night: tears of joy in recovery, tears of sadness in the remembrance of those who have died.

A hot, muggy night didn’t keep Relay teams from carrying on the tradition of the relay with the games, prizes, food and all-night walking.

The opening ceremony was inspirational as honorary chairpersons Kim Hofmann and Jim Lenhan shared their stories. It also included a warm message from Miss Minnesota 2012 Siri Freeh.

Jon Ekstrom’s solid voices led the ceremony off with the National Anthem and the Color Guard from American Legion Post 272 of Chisago County provided a proper opening.

Pastor Tom Hansen of Immanuel Lutheran in Almelund  did the invocation making note that on this night, these people would “witness hope that will not die.”

But it was when young Natalie Thornberg sang Martina McBride’s “I’m Going To Love You Through It” that the heartstrings began to give way. Natalie’s mom is a 4-year survivor of throat cancer, and while she can talk very well, mom’s says she can no longer sing. She noted that her two daughters sing for her now.

Natalie did a wonderful job and many wiped away a tear or two as she sang these words:

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong

When you let go, I’ll hold on

When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes

When you feel lost and scared to death,

Like you can’t take one more step

Just take my hand, together we can do it

I’m gonna love you through it.

Thanks to Jack Stetler and Fairview Lakes Medical Center, there was again a butterfly release. Jack and Jeany Stetler had provided the butterflies for many years. Sadly, Jeany passed away from cancer shortly after the 2011 Relay event.

The mournful sounds of the bagpipes led the Survivor’s Lap as the Relay got underway. And at dusk, the luminaries were lit and guided the walkers along the path all night.

The Relay raised $60,000 and donations can still be accepted until Aug. 31.

Photos by MaryHelen Swanson

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