Let me start by giving you a little lesson about how this Relay got its start.
One person can make a difference. Nowhere is that more evident than with the story of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, which began in Tacoma, Washington. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.
In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. He ran for more than 83 miles. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt’s friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. Throughout the night, friends donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
While circling the track those 24 hours, Dr. Klatt thought about how others could take part in his mission to fight cancer. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Over the next few months, he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event, known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
In 1986, with the help of Pat Flynn – now known as the “Mother of Relay” – 19 teams took part in the first team Relay event on the track at the historic Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000. An indescribable spirit prevailed at the track and in the tents that dotted the infield.
People of all ages come out to bring the community together and reminisce about their loved ones who have died of cancer and honor those who have survived while raising money to fight for a cure. Now, almost 4 million people take part in Relay events in over 5,000 communities in the United States.
Relay is a moving celebration of cancer survivorship. The event begins with a Survivors Lap in which cancer survivors take a victory lap around the track. A candlelight ceremony is held later in the evening to honor cancer survivors and remember those who we’ve lost to this disease.
This project is the one that means the most to me. Almost everyone can say that they know someone or have a family member with cancer or has died from cancer. I myself have had numerous family members that lost the fight against cancer. Please help me with this wonderful cause.