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Back for another walk

Bridgid Johnson walked the Rosemount Relay for Life last year exhausted from a chemotherapy session the day before and without a strand of hair on her head.

Despite the overwhelming urge to curl up on the couch and sleep, the mother of three got out to Central Park and did her part.

"It was a big deal for me to do it," said Johnson.

A year later Johnson has her hair and energy back and once again will walk to raise money for cancer research and awareness. The Rosemount Relay for Life will take place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. June 26 in Central Park. So far there are 26 teams signed up to walk, including Johnson's team, Funny Boots.

"I think the hardest part for me was losing my hair. It bothered me more than losing my breasts," said Johnson of her cancer treatments.

In March of 2008 Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer. The cancer was somewhere between stage two and three. She had to go through two types of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy last summer.

Cancer free this summer Johnson wants to make up for the time she lost. She has lots planned, including a son's graduation, a trip to Virginia to see her mother and a family trip to Chicago.

Right now though Johnson's in fundraising mode. She's gotten her same team, Funny Boots, back together and they hope to raise as much as they can.

Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society which uses the funds for cancer research and awareness. Participants pay a $10 fee and pledge to raise at least $100 for the event. On the night of the event teams walk through the night. Last year the Rosemount event raised more than $40,000 for the ACS.

Johnson is not the only resident out there looking for money. Mayor Bill Droste announced this week that he will take part in the Dakota County Mayor's Challenge. The mayors will act as team captains to get their respective communities in the fight against cancer.

The other Dakota County mayors participating are Elizabeth Kautz, Burnsville; Mike Maguire, Eagan; Holly Dahl, Lakeville; George Tourville, Inver Grove Heights; Beth Baumann, So. St. Paul; Todd Larson, Farmington; Mary Hamann-Roland, Apple Valley; and Tom Swain, Lilydale.

"I hate it when any of our neighboring cities beat us, so I'm hoping to raise lots of money," said Droste.

Droste has participated in the Rosemount Relay for Life for several years because he's had a number of friends and family affected by the disease. Additionally, he said it's a great community event.

State Representative Phillip Sterner also has a team in this year's relay. Sponsors of this year's event include SKB Environmental, the Maids, American Family Insurance-Linda Stragland Group and First State Bank of Rosemount.