Committed and caring

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By Staff
Although Beaufort County’s Relay for Life kicks off Friday evening, it’s not too late to make a contribution to the fight against cancer. By making a contribution, a commitment is being made, too.
Relay for Life is a tool to raise money for the fight against cancer. It would be difficult to find someone who does not know someone died from cancer, has cancer or has survived cancer.
In recent weeks, Relay for Life teams have conducted car washes, bake sales and other fundraising events to raise money for this year’s Relay for Life, which will take place Friday and Saturday at Washington High School’s track. Those fundraising events, the culmination of plenty of planning and hard work by teams, have raised more than $1 million in Beaufort County in the past 12 years or so.
While those fundraising events are bringing in money for the fight against cancer, they also bring together families, friends, co-workers, businesses, schools, churches, hospitals and people with a common cause — making cancer disappear.
Relay for Life had its beginning out on the West Coast. Colorectal surgeon Gordy Klatt, who lived in Tacoma, Wash., had a desire to increase the revenue his local American Cancer Society chapter raised. Klatt decided to raise money for that chapter by doing something he enjoyed — running in marathons.
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.
Laps around a track don’t tell the complete story about Relay for Life. To cancer survivors, Relay for Life provides them an opportunity to celebrate their victories over cancer by walking laps around a track.
What’s the philosophy of Relay for Life?
Why is there a need for Relay for Life?
Relay for Life events are often emotional because they are celebrations of surviving cancer. Relay for Life begins with the first lap set aside for cancer survivors as a victory lap. Later in the evening, a Ceremony of Hope that features luminaria is held to honor cancer survivors and to remember loved ones lost to cancer.
Relay for Life has three cornerstones — celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost to cancer and fight back in an effort to end cancer.
Many people have done their part to fight cancer. For those who haven’t joined that fight, it’s not too late. Just show up at Washington High School’s track Friday evening and make a contribution. That contribution doesn’t have to be a monetary one. It could be a commitment to be part of a Relay for Life team next year.
For without the commitment of Beaufort County’s Relay for Life teams, those teams wouldn’t have raised more than $1 million for the fight against cancer. That’s commitment and caring.