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Walking away the sadness

The family of Jerry Peterson will walk in his memory at this year's Relay for Life fund raiser for the American Cancer Society.

Jerry Peterson lived a full life. He had five children and three step-children that he loved as his own. Additionally, the Green Bay Packers fan had 17 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren that kept him busy.

When he wasn't busy with family he ran JP Construction in Burlington, Wis., a company that builds emergency responder training facilities.

He was special to the people who loved him so when he lost his battle to lung cancer March 1 there were a lot of tears. And while some tears still flow for him, his death has also brought forth some action.

Peterson's daughter Christine Ferrell, a Rosemount resident, has put together a Relay for Life team to fight the disease that took her dad and has impacted others in her life. She recruited some family members, including her husband, sisters and children to get involved too. They have already nearly reached their goal to raise $1,000.

"It started out as an emotional outlet ... to give us something to concentrate on instead of just being sad and it's turned into something bigger," said Ferrell.

In addition to honoring her dad, Ferrell said participating is a way to give thanks for the things the American Cancer Society has already done. Ferrell said research and the development of new treatments gave her family time with Peterson that they would not have had otherwise. Peterson was first diagnosed with cancer more than 10 years ago and was able to battle the disease for a long time.

"We're grateful for the extra years we got with him because of the research that's been done," said Ferrell.

Additionally, she said other members of her family including her mom, step-dad and step-mom have benefited and are cancer survivors.

During the Rosemount Relay for Life some of the Peterson Pack will don JP Construction shirts, while others will wear Relay for Life t-shirts. Ferrell said she anticipates the all night walk will be a fun but emotional event for her family.

"We're all in this together," said Ferrell.

The family has even decided to make it a little family competition. Ferrell said each member is going to wear a pedometer to count the number of steps they take while walking the track at Irish Stadium to see who walks the farthest.

Ferrell said her two children - Mason and Kacey - have gotten into the spirit of the event. Mason, a second grader at Diamond Path Elementary and Kacey, a sixth grader at Rosemount Middle School, have helped raise money for the cause and look forward to staying up all night on June 25.

"I want to do Relay for LIfe to help people not get cancer anymore. To make medicines to help them." Said Mason on his Relay for Life page.

Event chair Nancy Kelly said 22 teams have signed up to be part of the Relay for Life of Rosemount. She said the goal is to raise $34,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life will be held June 25 at Rosemount High School's Irish Stadium. The 12-hour event starts at 6 p.m.

To donate or for more information visit

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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