As the campus community bands together tonight for hours of fundraising, memorials, and celebration, it’s the perfect time to remember the history behind Relay for Life. While many students and members of the community participate, few may know the history behind the nation-wide event.
Relay for Life began when one man decided he would make a difference in the fight against cancer. Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Washington, decided that he would do more to raise funds for his local American Cancer Society office. In 1985, he spent 24 hours circling the track of a local university.
Dr. Klatt wasn’t alone: throughout the event, friends and family donated $25 each to walk or run with him. By the end of the event, the surgeon had raised over $27,000.
While logging miles, Dr. Klatt came up with the idea for a community-wide event that would raise money and awareness for cancer research. In 1986, he and a committee hosted a 24 Hour Run Against Cancer. The event raised over $33,000.
Over the years, the idea of a 24 hour relay grew so popular that the American Cancer Society named Relay for Life as a fundraising event. Currently, over 4 million people in 20 countries participate in Relay for Life each year.
MediaOCU would like to thank those who participate in the event on our campus. Cancer touches everyone’s lives. OCU’s Relay ties us together with people around the world who celebrate their survivors, remember those they’ve lost, and walk on in the hope for a cure.