Relay for life luminaria

Luminary bags lit up the Relay for Life path at Huber Park in 2017.

When Joey Skogrand was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, she saw an ad in the paper asking for Relay for Life volunteers.

“So I went to a meeting, and it was the most dedicated and passionate people I’ve ever met,” she said. “You get involved, and you don’t want to leave.”

So for the last 12 years, Skogrand has helped organize the Scott County Relay for Life event, which is a nationwide event that raises money for the American Cancer Society to honor survivors and remember loved ones, and to give cancer patients and their families the resources they need, according to its website.

The 22nd annual Scott County Relay for Life is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9 at Huber Park in Shakopee, when teams and individuals will be encouraged to walk from 5 p.m. to midnight to honor those who can’t, Skogrand said. This year, the event will feature a live band, a beer tent and food trucks. In the past, Relay for Life has lasted all night, with teams camping out in tents. But Skogrand said they wanted to make the event more community-oriented, so they’ve decided to opt out of an all-nighter.

At 6 p.m. there will be a short opening ceremony, followed by a performance from a Metropolitan Dance Alliance team. Around 9 p.m., there will be a luminaria ceremony, when candles will be lit inside white bags in honor of cancer patients, survivors and lost loved ones.

“It’s very moving. Probably the best part of the relay,” Skogrand said.

The American Cancer Society raises most of its money from relay participants who ask for donations prior to the event, along with the luminaria bag sales the night of the event. So far this year, Skogrand said they’ve raised $32,767. Their goal is $80,000. Over the last 22 years, the event in Shakopee has raised more than $2.5 million for the American Cancer Society.

“We have a very dedicated group of teams,” she said.

So far, there are 12 teams signed up. Skogrand said those interested can sign up online at the Scott County Relay for Life website, relayforlife.org/scottcountymn. You don’t need to be on a team or walk in the relay to show up, she said. All survivors will receive a T-shirt, a small gift and a coupon to use at the food trucks.

Last year, Relay for Life at Huber Park was cancelled due to weather. Skogrand said if it rains this year, the event will move to the VFW in Shakopee.

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