I am a heavy proponent of the American Cancer Society and all that the organization does. One of its largest fundraising efforts is the Relay For Life. For those that do not know, the Relay For Life is an annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Although the event is held by the American Cancer Society, the relay has gone global. According to the ACS’ official website for the relay, over 5,200 communities in 27 countries contribute their time and efforts to the relay. The relay itself can last anywhere from 6-24 hours, and each team participating in the event is instructed to have at least one member on the designated track at all times, in order to symbolize the never ending battle that cancer patients must face daily.
Throughout its 31 year history, the Relay For Life has had 3.5 million members, and has managed to accrue a whopping $5 billion.
How Did it All Start?
In 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt, in an effort to help the American Cancer Society raise money, walked and ran for 24 hours straight on a track in Washington. After all was said and done, Klatt, through the contributions of spectators and friends, had raised $27,000 for the ACS. Little did Dr. Klatt know that he would be starting a worldwide phenomenon. The first official Relay For Life was held the following year at the Stadium Bowl and went on to raise $33,000.
The Relay For Life is incredibly important to me, and millions of other people the world over. Cancer is a terrible disease, and no person should have to go through what cancer patients do. While a full-blown cure has not yet been discovered, and we have no clue if or when we will find one, we must not give up hope. By contributing to the Relay For Life, or any cancer research fundraising event, you are helping our collective society find a cure.
If you are interested in participating in the Relay For Life or even interested in donating, visit the American Cancer Society’s official website and find the next event near you!