Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So… What is Relay For Life Anyway?

Relay For Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease.

What Happens at a Relay?

Relay starts with a Survivors Lap – a inspirational time when survivors are invited to kick off the event, circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer.

After dark, we honor people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence.

Last, there is a Fight Back Ceremony, where we make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. That personal commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer.

It's important to note that anyone can participate in a Relay For Life event. You can join an existing team, start your own team, or participate as an individual. Check out this virtual tour of a Relay event.

Everyone's reason to Relay is unique. Some find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one. Others enjoy meeting people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer. Find a Relay near you and join with your community to celebrate survivors, remember those we have lost, and fight back against cancer.

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