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In the spring of 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., sought to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of his patients.
For 24 hours, a dedicated Klatt walked around the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.
Throughout the night, his friends paid $25 each to walk or run 30 minutes with him.
He walked about 83 miles and raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
Nearly 300 of Klatt’s friends, family and patients watched as he ran and walked the course. After this successful event, Klatt thought about how other people could partake in a similar 24-hour event in communities across the country. He recruited a small team of people and put on the first Relay For Life event in 1986.
Since then, Relay For Life has taken hold and spread to some 21 countries across the world.
Lancaster County will take center stage for the 2012 Relay For Life at Memorial Stadium on Friday when the 24-hour event begins at 7 p.m.
Most know that Relay is an annual event where people from all walks of life come together for a great cause – seeking a cure, raising money and awareness about cancer.
We all have loved ones or friends who have fought cancer. Relay salutes those who have battled this dreadful disease and won, as well as those who have fought the good fight and lost their courageous battle.
It’s a great night for survivors and the families of those who have battled against long odds.
Relay creates a mix of emotions for those involved. There are smiles of pride as the survivors take the victory lap, and likely a few tears, too.
Hugs and tears are part of a solemn time in remembering those who have died in the battle with cancer.
There’s also a sense of satisfaction at seeing young and old coming together to help make the event a success. It’s about people helping people.
This time of year, a host of activities are taking place. If for some reason, you can’t make it to Relay, make a donation to help in the fight. Any amount will do because it helps a tremendous cause.
Relay is an all-night event, but you don’t have to stay the whole time. Come out and stay as long as you can and take heart that you are doing what you can in the fight against cancer.
Like always, there will be food, fun and entertainment. The money raised will go to a great cause.
There’s a good chance if you attend, you will see an old friend and spend some quality time with them. Organizations like schools, businesses and churches come out to join in the effort.
We plan to be a part of this grand event and we hope you take time to participate.
Hope to see you there.