Sonoma State University Colleges Against Cancer is in partnership with the American Cancer Society to educate the next generation about the effects cancer can have on peoples lives.
One person can make a difference. Nowhere is that more evident than with the story of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life which began in Tacoma, Washington as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordon Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local chapter of the American Cancer Society. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed – running marathons.
In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound 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 to fight cancer. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt’s family, friends and patients watched as he ran and walked the course.
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. An indescribable spirit prevailed at the track and in the tents that dotted the field.
Due to its fundraising success and overwhelming support of the American Cancer Society’s mission, Relay For Life was declared the American Cancer Society’s signature activity in 1996. Relay For Life celebrates survivors, funds research advancements and cancer education; inspires the public to become involved in the American Cancer Society’s advocacy efforts; and makes important services possible for patients and their families.
Last year, Relay For Life raised $386 million at 5,034 sites throughout the United States and took place in 20 other countries, evolving into a worldwide movement to end cancer.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.