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Join the fight

By Staff
Buy those cookies. Have that car washed. Buy a ticket for a seat in the bleachers to watch that softball game.
When fundraising for Relay for Life projects appear, take part in them either by working as a volunteer or by buying those cookies, having that car washed or buying a ticket to watch that softball game.
Fundraising campaigns like these are proof that people in eastern North Carolina want to join in the fight against cancer and to support cancer research.
The Relay for Life season in eastern North Carolina will be warming up before long, if it isn’t already showing signs of thawing. Nonprofit organizations, schools, churches, work places and other entities are making plans for projects, events and activities to raise money to fight cancer, with the ultimate goal of eradicating one of this nation’s top killers.
Last year, the Relay for Life campaign in Beaufort County raised almost $170,000. Over the years, that amount has grown year to year.
Almost every person in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin and Washington counties knows of someone who’s died from cancer, has cancer and is fighting it or had cancer and successfully battled it. That someone may be himself or herself. That someone may be a family member, co-worker, teacher or friend.
Cancer does no discriminate. It strikes rich and poor, young and old, men and women.
Relay for Life traces its origins to the mid-1980s. A colorectal surgeon, Dr. Gordon Klatt, wanted to raise more money for the American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, Wash., where he lived. He decided to raise that money by running, something he loved to do as a marathon runner.
In May 1985, Klatt spent 24 hours running on the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound. He raised $27,000 to battle cancer. The program has mushroomed from that small beginning. In 1986, 19 teams took part in the first team relay at the track at the Stadium Bowl. They raised $33,000 to fight cancer.
Although making laps around a track has become synomomous with Relay for Life, there’s more to Relay for Life than laps. Cancer survivors celebrate their victories over cancer by taking those laps.
In the previous 12 Relay for Life events in Beaufort County, more than $1 million has been raised for the fight against cancer. Each year, about 4,800 Relay for Life events across the nation raise about $400 million.
People like Blounts Creek resident Fred Barrett walk in Relay for Life events. Last year, Barrett walked for his wife, Cynthia, who was diagnosed with colon cancer about six years ago. He walked for his mother, whom he lost to ovarian cancer. He walked for his sister, who found out she had breast cancer at the age of 38.
Relay for Life is all about celebrating victories against cancer, creating awareness that communities across the nation should promote and making a commitment to remove cancer’s deadly grip from our lives.