What is Relay for Life and Why Do We Relay?

Relay for Life

What is Relay for Life and Why Do We Relay?

Source:  Fort Walton Beach Relay for Life

Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer. Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each event is 6-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one night, neither do we.

Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. This money will count towards their overall team fundraising goal.

When it comes to Relay for Life, 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.

Gordy spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound. 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 August 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.

On a site known as relay nation (https://relaynation.relayforlife.org/share-your-story) you can read the touching stories posted by so many cancer fighters, caregivers, survivors, and those that battled cancer to the very end. One such story is this one:

“I was 3 ½ when I was diagnosed with cancer. I do not remember much about what happened. But I do know that I only have one kidney and a pretty sick scare on my stomach. I was a part of the Make a Wish Foundation and my family and I went to Disney World because I wanted to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I am now 29 years old and married to an amazing man!!! I had been wishing to do Relay for Life for a long time and am so over the moon about getting to do this with my friends and family.” Posted by Susie715 on Feb 21, 2017 at 3:05 PM in New York.

Join the fight TODAY! Sign up at http://relayforlife.org/fwbfl. It will take place at Choctaw High School on April 28 and 29, from 6 PM to 6 AM. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Amie Coonis, Relay for Life of Fort Walton Beach event lead at 850-778-0158 or via email at fwbrelayforlife@gmail.com