One person can make a difference. In May 1985, Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, raising money to help the American Cancer Society with the nation’s biggest health concern: cancer.
Friends, family, and patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 83.6 miles and raised $27,000 through pledges to help save lives from cancer. As he circled the track, he thought of how he could get others to take part. He envisioned having teams participate in a 24-hour fundraising event. The next year, 19 teams were part of the first Relay at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.
Gordy passed away Aug. 3, 2014, at the age of 71 from heart failure after battling stomach cancer. But his legacy lives on. He helped shape an idea that started as one man walking and running a track and helped turn it into a global event raising over $5 billion to help save lives throughout the world.
For 2017, Relay For Life of Morrow County will be held at the Gilead Friends Church. A cancer survivor and caregiver reception will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Local cancer survivors take the first lap of Relay with everyone cheering them on and celebrating their fight and victory over cancer.
Their caregivers will join them on the second lap, while the celebration continues. At 6:45 pm, the survivors and one caregiver will be honored guests at their annual dinner.
At Relay For Life events, no one faces cancer alone, a news release states. Residents come together every year at more than 3,500 Relay events around the country to support and celebrate survivors and caregivers.
“Our event theme for 2017 is “Be The Hope” throughout the event, there will be fun laps, activities, and challenges for our teams, while at the team campsites, there will be food and games. For the third year, there is Shop For a Cure at Relay. Local vendors will be on site and those vendors also make a contribution to the American Cancer Society,” Connie Mattingly said.
One of the most emotional and intimate ceremonies you will ever take part in begins at 10 p.m.; The Luminaria Ceremony. Our only light is the glow from more than 400 luminaria bags around our track. It is a powerful ceremony, one to remind us of friends and family who bravely fought the battle of cancer and lost, as well as those who are continuing their fight and determined to win.”
The “Letting Go” ceremony begins at 12:50 a.m. with the release of Chinese lanterns, followed by the closing ceremony at 1 a.m.
To those attending for the first time, you are about to experience the Celebration of Relay, feel the emotional impact of what darkness can make you feel, and learn to let go of the past because there is always hope.
The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives from cancer. But we can’t do it without you. Your donations help us fight all types of cancer, for all types of people, in all types of communities around the globe. Each person who joins Relay For Life can take pride in knowing that they are working towards creating a world free from the pain and suffering of this disease.
Your donations to Relay For Life help the American Cancer Society fund groundbreaking cancer research, critical patient care services, education and prevention initiatives, and more. Consider joining us at Relay For Life of Morrow County on July 28-29.
No matter how you participate in a Relay For Life event, you become a vital part of the American Cancer Society: a volunteer. You are now part of an organization of 3.5 million survivors, patient advocates, volunteers, caregivers and researchers doing everything within their power to save lives.
“By selflessly devoting your time and energy through raising awareness and money, you become the voice of the American Cancer Society in your community. It’s a big job. And its not one that we take for granted.
So thank you for helping us fulfill our mission to save lives and celebrate life. Every day.”
For information on Relay For Life, contact Connie Mattingly at 419-560-0062