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EOT cancer walk raises $91,000

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EOT cancer walk raises $91,000
Perham Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

Despite a stormy start to the 2008 American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life," hundreds of walkers rallied for a record-setting event.

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Threatening skies, including unconfirmed reports of what appeared to be a funnel cloud taking shape over Perham, sent the volunteers and walkers for cover--about 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Everybody was evacuated from the Relay site at the high school track and football field, to the nearby Perham Area Community Center until the storm passed--about a half-hour later.

By the time of the 7 p.m. opening ceremonies, skies were clear and sunny-- though the ever-present winds of the summer of 2008 were still blowing.

In the 14-year history of the Relay, there has never been a cancellation of the event due to weather, noted Irv Wegscheid, Relay volunteer since its inception.

The earlier rains did, however, drench the 4,500 candle luminaries that surrounded the high school track.

Opening ceremonies featured the introduction of 75 cancer survivors, who walked the first lap around the track. The survivors were followed by 31 teams, with members cheering and the crowd applauding as they marched around the track.

The top fundraising teams were Perham Memorial Hospital and Home and the Perham-Dent school district, who were awarded the Gold Award. Both raised nearly $10,000.

There were two Silver Award teams, raising $5,000 or more, Vergas State Bank and Calvary Lutheran.

Eight teams earned Bronze Awards, for raising $2,500 or more each: Arvig Communications Systems, Ottertail Otters, Perham Co-op Creamery, Productive Alternatives, St. Lawrence Saints, St. Paul's Lutheran, United Community Bank, and the "Laughing with Laurence" team.

All totalled, the 2008 East Otter Tail Relay netted $91,000, according to treasurer Carol Brasel--this compares to about $85,000 last year.

"The live auction really helped us, and the silent auction did better this year, too," said Brasel. "It was an all-around effort. Plus we had things throughout the evening that really kept people going, and were a lot of fun, too."

These special events included bingo, a cakewalk, wheelchair race, and others.

Based on population base and the amount raised, the EOT event has been among the top Relays in the nation.

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