A strong storm system with wind and rain sent the Ravalli County Relay for Life indoors Saturday, June 9. The 4 p.m. to Midnight event started at the parking lot of the Ravalli County Fairground's First Interstate Event Center in Hamilton. Shortly after 5 p.m., a sudden blast of wind blew over audio equipment and tents, scattering the participants. And rain was on its way.

However, you can't stop Montanans. A "Plan B" was in place, with a relay course set up inside the large Event Center. After wires were hooked up, the music was restored for the walkers, and the outdoor campsites and activity areas were set up inside to continue the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. And it did raise money. Organizer Robin Holcomb said the initial total was over $16,000. She said donations can continue on their website until August. Funds support cancer research, patient care services, and prevention and early detection programs.

The Ravalli County Relay was preceded by a Survivors Dinner at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital Friday, June 8. The first lap was also reserved for survivors of cancer and their caregivers. Through the night, various activities added to the fundraising. At 10 p.m. the building was quiet as the lights were dimmed, luminaries with names of people touched by cancer were lined up and their names were read aloud. Holcomb said that participants were already planning next year's activities.

The beginning lap of the Relay for Life. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)