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Each year, millions of people dedicated to eliminating cancer in our lifetime participate in a unique event that helps communities celebrate cancer survivorship, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that takes too much. That event is the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
Much more than a walk around a track, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life is the world's largest grassroots fundraising movement that helps local communities take action against a disease that will affect one in four families. It unites participants with others who have shared a similar experience, allowing them to find hope and healing.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Wash., ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Klatt had a purpose when he began the 24-hour Relay in 1985. The significance of daytime and nighttime coincides with the journey that all cancer patients go through.
Clear your mind and picture this: It's daylight. Life is wonderful. You're healthy, happy and looking forward to the future. You're looking forward to your child's play recital, a vacation or your first grandchild. You're looking forward to the new house you just bought or that dream job that you're thrilled about. Your life is full of exciting moments. But then, darkness falls. You hear the words, "you've got cancer." Your life has suddenly become very dark. You don't know what the outcome will be. You feel there is no hope in sight. You start your treatments. You're nauseous and your hair falls out. You're exhausted and you have no appetite. You begin to wonder what the future holds and realize that your life has been suddenly changed ... forever. You couldn't possibly feel any worse. Until the sun starts to rise. The tumor is shrinking. Your treatments are working. You're getting your appetite back. You feel good enough to make a trip to the store. You call a friend and plan an afternoon out. There is hope. It is now daylight and you are in remission. You have your life back. You've made it through the night and the darkness. You celebrate life in the daylight know that the darkness of nighttime is behind you.
That is why we Relay. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.
At Relays, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.
Since its start, Relay has grown from a single man's passion to fight cancer into the world's largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, the American Cancer Society continues to save lives.
"Relay For Life gives Perry County a unique opportunity to contribute to the American Cancer Society's mission of saving lives, by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back," said Susan Oeding, community representative for the American Cancer Society. "Residents who give their time, energy and financial commitment to this exciting event are really standing up for our community and its pledge to join the fight."
Teams of co-workers, colleagues, family and more camp out overnight and take turns walking laps around a track. Participants celebrate the victory of local cancer survivors during the special Survivors Lap. At dusk, they have a chance to remember loved ones lost to the disease during the poignant Luminaria Ceremony.
During the Fight Back Ceremony, community members are encouraged to make a pledge to save one life from cancer.
Dollars raised at American Cancer Society Relay For Life events help provide access to up-to-date cancer information, day-to-day help and emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (800) 227.2345. They help match local cancer patients with much-needed American Cancer Society resources such as rides to treatment and tips on coping with various aspects of cancer. Relay For Life also supports the American Cancer Society's efforts to educate people about cancer prevention and to ensure fighting cancer remains a top priority for local, state and federal legislators.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Perry County will take place from 2 p.m. to 7 a.m. June 12-13 at Perry Central High School.
For more information or to learn how you can get involved, visit www.relayforlife.org or call (800) 227-2345.