FORTVILLE — Relay For Life of Mt. Vernon shut down early Saturday amid cold temperatures and extreme wind conditions — but not before the event raised about $20,000 for the anti-cancer cause.

“Usually, we relay through thick and thin,” co-chairwoman Krista Steeno said, “but with the wind and for safety, we had to re-evaluate.”

The American Cancer Society event, which had 18 teams and 186 participants registered, was scheduled to run from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday at the Mt. Vernon Middle School track. It shut down shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday.

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Despite the wind and the cold, Steeno and other participants said the occasion still had its positive and moving moments, in addition to contributing funds to battle the prevalent disease.

“We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve mumbled and groaned,” Steeno told the crowd at the end.

She noted that amid the discomforts of the day they remembered their loved ones, many of whom were honored with luminaria — small paper bags that feature images of and messages for loved ones who have fought cancer.

Dawn Moos, who has lost many relatives to cancer, including her father, said she still enjoyed the event because she was able to walk in honor of friends and family.

Also, she said, she likes “the camaraderie between the teams.”

Codi Milner of McCordsville, who was 3 when her father, Wayne Milner, died of cancer, read a prepared remembrance to the crowd; several who listened wiped tears from their eyes and the listened to Milner describe what she’s gone through.

“If there’s one thing I can tell you about my experience with this loss, it would be that growing up without a parent that you don’t remember is a confusing thing,” she said. “I missed Dad a lot and thought about him every day, and I still do now.”

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Scott Slade is community editor. He can be reached at 317-477-3229 or