On Friday night, Watonwan County held their annual Relay For Life at the Watonwan County Fairgrounds.
With this year's relay being a drive-up relay, estimating how many people would come out and show their support was a challenge. Keeping everybody safe with social distancing and limiting person-to-person contact also presented its challenges.
"I think we were going to be very grateful for anyone that would come out to see us," said Shirley Anderson. "The cause is here. It's always going to be here. We knew with all the guidelines that we have to follow we knew it was going to be difficult."
"The reason we're doing this is for the people who are fighting cancer and fighting for their lives— but those are the same people we have to protect."
Despite COVID-19 canceling and affecting summer events such as the Watonwan County Fair and Railroad Days, Anderson says the relay committee was never close to fully canceling this year's event.
"There's was never a doubt in our mind that we wanted to do something but we had to wait and see what the American Cancer Society would allow us to do."
Five teams were present at the 2020 Relay: Annie's Warriors, Monica's Mighty Warriors, Alice's Angels, The Watonwan County Women of Today, and AES Ministries.
Each team was limited to two team members per booth to sell fundraising items.
"They're just amazing. They're sitting out in the heat, selling their items. They know the importance of this in that we are all in this together and we have to join together to make as much money as we possibly can."
A slow start to the Relay quickly yielded to a huge rush of supporters and donors later in the evening.
"There's no people more giving than the people in Watonwan County. If anybody's in need, they show up, they are there."
As of Monday, the total amount of money raised was about $51,500.00.
In addition to the $51,500.00, this year's ambassador, Olaf from Frozen, was sold for $500, and raised a total of $2,590.
"This is an all-time high for an ambassador. Every year I try to push myself a little more by a couple of hundred dollars. My goal was $2,000. Then this whole coronavirus thing happened and I thought 'if I can make $1,000 I will be ecstatic, that will be awesome'."
Anderson also stated that another community fundraising event may be held in the fall, with the anticipation that COVID-19 restrictions will be lessened or lifted by then.