Relay for Life participants battle cancer via energy and momentum much as relay runners battle competitors, but the goal is to raise money rather than pass the baton or reach the tape first.
Participants walk or run as cancer survivors, caregivers or fundraising supporters, passing the proverbial baton of hope by raising funds for research or other cancer-fighting needs. It’s a worldwide phenomenon that will include next Saturday another Relay for Life of Carson City being kicked off with remarks by Mayor Robert Crowell.
A prostate cancer survivor, Crowell made a baton-passing and link-in-the-chain argument last week to help drum up participation.
“I think its important to keep that energy and that momentum going,” said the cancer-surviving public official in public life more than two decades, first on Carson City’s School Board of Trustees and after becoming cancer free as mayor on the Board of Supervisors. He said he will talk about how he found out about cancer and aspects of his treatment. He was diagnosed in 2006 and said he has been cancer free since 2007.
“They asked me to be kind of a kick off speaker,” said Crowell.
The mayor even touted the upcoming relay at the close of the city’s governing board Thursday meeting, saying it begins at noon Saturday. The local relay lasts until midnight at Mills Park. It is an extension of the event held both locally and elsewhere to help the American Cancer Society in its lengthy fight to end the disease.
The local event is being billed on fliers promoting it as a way to help finish the fight against cancer. The mayor made similar points, saying research advances come all the time and help enhance that goal. But until then, fundraising and reach also enhances the chances for survival of whomever comes down with one of the many ways cancer can attack victims, he added.
The Relay for Life movement began in the mid-1980s when Dr. Gordy Klatt covered 83 miles in 24 hours and supporters donated funds to join him for a time during his extended trek around a track in Tacoma, Wash. In 1986, teams there joined in and $33,000 was raised. Since then, billions have been raised to combat cancer via events in communities spanning 20 countries.
Each relay begins, after opening ceremonies and remarks, with a survivors lap in which those who have lived with and turned back the disease celebrate their victory over it. Caregivers and all supporters follow with laps and teams join in as well throughout each event. Relays also are for some participants a way of contributing to future triumph over the disease that has claimed the lives of loved ones in the past. The host organization says more than 4 million people in 20 countries participate in yearly in the event.
As of Saturday, 15 teams had raised more than $10,000 for the event.