SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The rainy weather did not stop more than 6,000 people from gathering for the 35th Annual Race Against Cancer event.

Whether it’s for themselves, or someone they know…

Every person who participates in the Avera Race Against Cancer event has their own story with cancer.

“To see all the energy and the positivity and certainly some sadness but just amazing to see the community pull together and to see how many others that have walked the same journey,” said JoAnn Sowers, a cancer survivor.

JoAnn Sowers was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer in 2018. At that time, her treatment was considered new.

“The immunotherapy wasn’t something that is a part of it. It is now a part of the solution. It was not at the time,” Sowers said.

Due to treatment, sowers outlived her original diagnosis and has participated in the last four annual races.

Over the last 35 years, Avera has raised over $9 million with their races. This money goes back into cancer research and cancer patients like Sowers.

“Events like this are critical for us to be able to provide the resources to help those patients. When you give to health care you give to people’s lives,” said Dzenan Berberobic, chief philanthropy officer.

This event raised close to $650,000. Berberobic says the support they have received from the community is heartwarming.

“Our team has just humbled that we have so many individuals who support our patients and their families every single day,” Berberobic said.

In addition to Sioux Falls, races were also held in Yankton, Pierre, Marshall and Mitchell.