June 14, 2007

Relay For Life Getting Local Volunteers Moving Toward a Cure for Cancer

Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

The 2007 Scotland County Relay for Life will address all three of these pieces of the American Cancer Society’s mission statement for the international event.

Cancer survivors will be honored at a special reception to be held prior to the start of the realy from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, June 15th. The event is being hosted by the Memphis Branch of the Bank of Kirksville and will be located at the VFW in Memphis. Refreshments will be served along with a special cake provided by Erin Miller. The Heritage Band will perform during the reception.

“It’s not too late to join us in the relay for Life on June 15,” said organizer Chris Tinkle. “ We are MOOOOVING toward a cure.”

Cancer survivors planning to attend the reception and take part in the ceremonial opening lap of the relay are asked to contact Tinkle at 660-465-7322 to reserve their own commemorative survivor’s T-shirt. The free shirts will be available that night at the VFW.

The survivors’ lap will kick off a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society. During the event, the teams of people you have read about over the past several weeks will gather on the Memphis square and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.

The teams set up campsites and host a variety of fundraisers throughout the evening and morning hours to supplement other moneymakers they have sponsored throughout the year.

After nightfall, one of the main highlights of Relay For Life is the Ceremony of Hope (Relay’s luminaria ceremony). Hundreds of luminaria candles dedicated to loved ones line the track and are left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the incredible importance of their contributions.

Relay For Life began in Tacoma, Washington, as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office.

In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000.

While he circled the track those 24 hours, he thought about how others could take part. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Months later he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer. In 1986, 19 teams took part in the first team relay event on the track at the colorful, historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.

Relay for Life is now held in 26 countries across the World with an estimated 3.5 million participants in more than 4,800 communities. Every dollar raised goes toward fighting cancer. Contributions to the Relay For Life help the American Cancer Society to fight cancer in four main ways: research, education, advocacy and patient services. The American Cancer Society funds more than $100 million of cancer research a year.

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