10 Who Make a Difference: Becky Waara - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

10 Who Make a Difference: Becky Waara

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Becky Waara stands with cancer survivor at Relay for Life of Olmsted County 2016, following the lighting of the torch. Becky Waara stands with cancer survivor at Relay for Life of Olmsted County 2016, following the lighting of the torch.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

The 35th year of Rochesterfest is just around the corner. It kicks off this Saturday!

For the past 24 years, as part of the celebration, KTTC and the United Way of Olmsted County have been honoring ten extraordinary people or groups that make a difference in our community.

Becky Waara is one very deserving recipient of this honor.

Dedicated, compassionate, determined, and empathetic are just four of the words used to describe Becky Waara, who spends much of her time volunteering for the American Cancer Society and caring for cancer-stricken patients.

But, it doesn't stop at just volunteering for the ACS. Waara goes over and beyond volunteering.

Waara has dedicated the last 15 years of her life as the chairperson for the Relay for Life of Olmsted County.

This means she spends hundreds, maybe thousands of hours planning, bringing in crowds, and engaging cancer fighters and survivors to the annual event, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

“When I originally learned that Relay for Life even existed, that it was something that was happening, my mom had passed away a year earlier from cancer. I was also just coming home from visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Ohio, and he was near the end of his life, battling cancer at the time,” said Waara.

She continued, “A girlfriend in Wisconsin told me she was organizing a Relay for Life there, and I was like, 'What a fabulous idea!', and I went with it from that point onward.”

So began Relay for Life of Olmsted County in 2002.

Since 2010 alone, Relay for Life of Olmsted County has raised $700,000 for the fight against cancer and help to find a cure.

"We keep saying we're one step closer to a cure, and people wonder, 'Will there really be a cure?' But, you know Polio was cured, we've found cures for so many things, and I really think we're on the cutting edge of finding a cure," said Waara.

Waara said Relay for Life is her passion, she loves every aspect of the event.

She also said she's shocked to have won the award, and added that everybody who serves on the event leadership team for Relay for Life with her deserves recognition.

Her big event is coming up: Relay For Life of Olmsted County is Friday, June 16th at Rochester Community and Technical College.

The event begins at 5 p.m and will continue until midnight.

There will be a walk, silent auction, inflatables, corn hole, live entertainment, and the very special survivor lap.

There will also be the lighting of the luminaries, which is extremely special and empowering, honoring those fighting the battle of their lifetime and remembering those who have lost the battle.

Waara said the goal this year is to raise $100,000 for the American Cancer Society through the event. 

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