Harlan Rosendahl will complete his latest round of radiation on the morning Friday, Aug. 2, and he will return to Elk River that day and assume a very comfortable role at the Elk River Relay for Life. After 31 years as an extension educator for the University of Minnesota, the Elk River man will share what he has learned about coping with the disease of cancer.
He has been named the honorary chair of the event, which is slated to start at 7 p.m. at the Elk River High School varsity football field and track. He will give a speech prior to survivor introductions and the survivor lap.
This year’s event will feature nearly 20 teams. The opening ceremonies and the luminary lighting at 10 p.m. are open to the public and there are activities throughout the night for participants.
Rosendahl was diagnosed with esophageal adenocarcinoma about three months after his retirement in June 2011. He has since beat the disease once and endured a successful esophagectomy. He now counts being able to eat a hamburger as a highlight and he treasures his time with his grandchildren.
Cancer struck again, however, this summer when a lesion was found on his hip. He will talk at the Relay about what has helped him cope in his journey with the dreaded disease of cancer.