Finish the fight

Top right: Cancer survivor Jenny (Puariea) Ring with husband Dan, natives of North Branch, pose for a picture prior to the ceremonial butterfly release. Though she has been rediagnosed, Jenny finds comfort in the many friends and family members who are supporting her journey. Adai Streit, from the Chisago Lakes area, helps little sister Trinity write an encouraging message at the luminaria table. Individuals and families show their support during the Relay for Life opening ceremony Friday night at the Almelund Threshing Company grounds. Madison Thornburg, from the Lindstrom area, performs a rendition of “Clouds” in dedication to Zach Sobiech, of Stillwater, who wrote and performed the song about the rare form of bone cancer that ultimately took his life. Luminaria along the track help people honor a cancer survivor and remember a loved one.
Brittany Peterson, of North Branch, and Lindstrom’s Pat Kennedy were selected as this year’s Relay for Life honorary co-chairs. Here, Kennedy shares his emotional story in front of fellow cancer survivors and those in support of their journeys with the disease. Families and friends join in the Survivor and Caregiver Lap at the Relay for Life of Chisago County event Friday night at the Almelund Threshing Company grounds. This initial walk was followed by the Team Lap and the luminaria ceremony at dusk. Photos by Jon Tatting Leading the Survivor and Caregiver Lap are Paul Dennison on bagpipes, followed by the American Legion Post 272 Color Guard.
Photos by Jon Tatting
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Top right: Cancer survivor Jenny (Puariea) Ring with husband Dan, natives of North Branch, pose for a picture prior to the ceremonial butterfly release. Though she has been rediagnosed, Jenny finds comfort in the many friends and family members who are supporting her journey.

Relay for Life of Chisago County honors survivors,  loved ones lost to cancer at  annual Relay event in Almelund

A good turnout of folks donning “Finish the Fight” T-shirts and walking shoes showed their ongoing support of loved ones afflicted by cancer and caregivers last weekend on the Almelund Threshing Company grounds.

This family-friendly event is the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay For Life of Chisago County — complete with Relay teams that camp overnight and walk a track adorned with luminaria — which raises funds for research and overall awareness in the fight against cancer. Food, games and activities add to the positive atmosphere.

Families and friends comprising Relay teams followed event chair Jeske Noordergraaf’s lead in giving a warm welcome to honorary co-chairs Brittany Peterson, of North Branch, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, and Lindstrom’s Pat Kennedy, who also is a survivor of a very fast-growing, painful tumor.

Kennedy shared his story about the tumor that started on the left side of his torso in 2008 and turned out to be non-Hogkins lymphoma cancer. He said it was his determination, family, faith in his physicians and the care of the oncology nurses at Wyoming Fairview Lakes Clinic that helped him walk his journey. Fighting back tears, he talked about his wife, who also was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of small cell lung cancer a year ago. It took her life three weeks later.

Madison Thornburg, of the Lindstrom area, performed a rendition of “Clouds,” a song about cancer made famous by Zach Sobiech, who succumbed to the disease a year later.

Prior to the initial Survivor and Caregiver Lap, led by Paul Dennison on bagpipes, each cancer survivor released a butterfly. The beauty continued at dusk with the luminaria ceremony.

“It’s about a community that takes up the fight,” according to the Relay program, which thanked all of the businesses and organizations that helped make the event possible.