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Celebration of life in Woodbury

Some cancer survivors got in the groove while walking the ceremonial survivors' lap on Friday, June 7, at the Relay for Life of South Washington County. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker

The clouds lifted last week for a celebration.

After a week where gloomy weather seemed to be the rule, the cover of gray gave way to a burst of sunshine just as hundreds gathered Friday, June 7, at East Ridge High School for the annual Relay for Life of South Washington County.

Woodbury teenager Zach Netten kicked off festivities with speech as the 2013 honorary cancer survivor.

The East Ridge High School freshman described the lessons he learned during cancer treatment, which saw his hair fall out in clumps.

"I quickly found out that we spend a lot of the time thinknig about how we look and we should be worrying about different things," Netten said to a round of applause. "With a positive attitude, you can really get through anything."

This year's event raised $178,000, said event coordinator Mara Mayberry, who noted that fundraising efforts will continue through Aug. 31.

As night fell on the all-night event, Woodbury resident Steve Brennan and his stepdaughter, Woodbury native Jenny Burow, spoke in advance of the luminaria ceremony. Burow and Brennan, both cancer survivors, learned through testing last week that they were cancer-free.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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