Relay for Life continues to evolve in Eagan

‘Superheroes and Popsicles’ scheduled for June 25 at Cascade Bay

The Relay For Life event June 25 at Cascade Bay in Eagan continues to evolve as it works to raise money for research and comfort those affected by cancer.

Organizers and participants will gather in the bus turnaround area outside of the water park for the combined Eagan, Apple Valley and Rosemount Relay for Life fundraiser from 4:30-6:30 p.m. June 25. The event includes a survivor dinner, games, activities and a silent auction.

The two speakers include Paige Shaffer, a graduate of Rosemount High School who will talk about her cancer journey, along with Lyn Kienholz, a caregiver and patient navigator, who will talk about her role and her journey through her husband’s cancer.

Listening to the speakers and visiting with other attendees has been perhaps the most rewarding and therapeutic part of the event.

“The fellowship that comes with celebrating survivors is one of the most amazing things we do,” said Melissa Wind, community manager. “Each cancer journey is unique, but to sit with a group of people in your community who share some of the common experiences, fears, and who know the lingo is cathartic.”

It’s what motivates the staff and volunteers to run the Relay for Life, which has been going on for 25 years.

“We are here for the survivors and to keep raising money to fund the research that will mean more people survive a cancer diagnosis,” Wind said. “Our survivors wear the purple survivor Relay shirts as a badge of honor, and it is humbling to be able to be a little part of their celebration.”

Participants will head into Cascade Bay at 6:30 p.m. for a new event, Superheroes and Popsicles, which is intended to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

Organizers thought the switch to Cascade Bay in 2016 was successful and they wanted to grow the event to make sure they included families who have been through a pediatric cancer journey.

Prior to 2016, the event was held at Eagan High School, where participants walked. The walking portion of Eagan’s Relay for Life called Stepping Outlet for Mom was last month at the Twin Cities Premium Outlets.

“While there is not a planned walk, we expect that there will be an organic walking area outside the water park our participants will gravitate to,” Wind said. “The traditional walking was at the earlier event.”

This is the first time the American Cancer Society has held an event in the Twin Cities specifically to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Organizers are asking for a $20 donation for Superheroes and Popsicles and that includes water park admission, pizza, a backpack full of goodies, a duck to enter in the lazy river race and, of course, frozen treats and fun with superheroes.

All proceeds from tickets and fundraising inside the water park will be donated to pediatric cancer.

Online ticket sales close at midnight on June 21, but walk-in registrations will be accepted the day of the event.