The weather could not have been more perfect for the 25th Rice County Relay for Life on the Rice County Fairgrounds Friday night.

101 cancer survivors participated in the Survivor's Lap following the Opening Ceremony. The total number of years of survival were 1,442. That's an average of about 14.7 years.

Honorary Chairs John Milewski and Beckie Chappuis VonRuden shared their stories of survival during the Opening Ceremony.

Milewski was given three to six months to live when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and recently celebrated two years since that diagnosis. He is still undergoing treatments and stood on the KDHL/POWER 96 Stage with three grandchildren showing their support with homemade flags. "You can see I have some pretty good reasons to press on," he said.

VonRuden says after a day of crying following her diagnosis, her best friend told her to stop feeling sorry for herself and decide how best to tackle her breast cancer. "Having cancer sucks," she said, "but receiving all the support I've received through this from family and friends has been a blessing."

Between the opening and luminary lighting music was provided by Marcus Padilla and Mark Hedenstrom, two very gifted men who shared their talents with us, and I know it was greatly appreciated by the Relay for Life Committee.

There were 3,301 luminaries placed around the fairgrounds and it never ceases to amaze me how much love goes into those white bags with sand and a candle inside. Some have pictures of their loved one and some are simply decorated with things they really enjoy or enjoyed doing in life.

Honorary Chairs Jan Balata and Brian Homeier shared their stories of cancer survival during the Luminary Lighting Service.

Balata is a 25-year breast cancer survivor and Homeier was diagnosed last year with testicular cancer. Both talked about how much love and support they received through their treatments.

Balata said her "faith in God" was a comfort and Homeier noted his wife and daughters were his "inspiration."

The Silent Auction closure went without a hitch with the closing in three color coded sections 15 minutes apart.

The total amount of money raised through the luminaries, corporate and other sponsorships, various team booths with food, kids games and other items sold and general food sales was $93,389.83.

The total amount of money raised going into the silver anniversary relay was $2,096,656.

During the Closing Ceremony Saturday morning, we recognized the top five money raising teams and individuals. Every single dollar raised and every team are extremely important to the success of the event.

Here is the list of top 5 individual fundraisers for the relay:

  1. Lori Jo Markman $3,710
  2. Candy Meyer      $3,625
  3. Kari Boldt            $2,760
  4. Debbie Bennett   $2,616
  5. Marian Bahl        $2,600

The list of the top five teams involved in this year's relay:

  1. PEO Stately Striders              $15,863.00
  2. Caron Connection                  $10,338.36
  3. Allina Miracle Workers           $  9,454.60
  4. The Builders                          $  7, 603.60
  5. Don and Mel's Maniacs         $  6,959.00

Ben Franklin is quoted as saying, "Well done is better than well said."

Well done Relay for Life Committee. Enough said. See you next year, I hope.

KDHL POWER 96 Empty Relay for Life Stage. photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Relay for Life 2017 Second View to West. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Relay for Life 2017 Luminaries Behind Grandstand. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Relay for Life Late Night View to West 2017. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Relay For Life Luminaries Leading to Church. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Rice County Relay for Life 2017 View to East. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld