Relay for Life ball returning

Published 10:26 am Monday, May 2, 2011

Suvivors walk past a luminary while taking the Survivor's Lap Saturday night during the Relay for LIfe at Bandshell Park. -- Eric Johnson/

For nearly 10 years, a local team has been raising money to fight cancer through Mower County Relay for Life.

They want to go bigger and better this year.

At 7 p.m. May 6 at the Holiday Inn Grand Ballroom, the IBI Data team is holding its second Black and White ball.

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However, they don’t want to scare people away with the title. Dawn McDermott, one of the team organizers, said anybody can come. The event isn’t formal, they just want to draw a crowd and raise more money than last year’s efforts.

“Come as you are and have fun, and raise some money to research cancer,” McDermott said.

Honorary junior chair Alex Griffey watches her balloon rise into the air during the balloon release following the survivor's lap Saturday night at the Relay for Life at Bandshell Park. - Herald file photo

The IBI Data team has experienced cancer first-hand. McDermott said Dagna Simmons, who is on their team, has a husband who just completed surgery for cancer.

And she and others on the team have all known somebody who has struggled with the disease.

“We’ve all experienced cancer in some way shape or form,” she said.

McDermott is proud that the community has chipped in with the efforts. Last year, their Black and White ball drew almost 100 people and raised $4,000, coupled with team IBI Data’s own pledge of $10,000.

“The community has been so generous with their donations, and we appreciate that so much,” McDermott said.

And this year, the team is hoping for even more pledges and more people. McDermott hopes for at least three times as many people as last year.

“We want as many people here as possible.” McDermott said.

And with the ballroom, there’s no shortage of room either. Guests can mingle with each other, listen and dance to DJ Alan Reed and get chance to go home with numerous items.

McDermott said roughly 120 area businesses have donated items for silent auctions, including meal packages, Vikings and Twins memorabilia, photography packages, spa packages and countless other things. There will also be food, an open bar and a live auction by Dave Thompson.

“We need for it to be a fun event,” she said. “It’s a win-win for everybody. You get to go home with a nice gift and you know that you’re fighting cancer.”

All the proceeds go to Mower County Relay for Life, and the event shouldn’t bore anyone.

“We really have something for everyone,” McDermott said.

Tickets to the event are $15 in advance by calling 507-437-6258 or $20 at the door.