Editorial: Tripling the Relay challenge

May. 01, 2014 @ 11:00 PM

Teams, even individuals, are raising as much money today as they did in 1985. That’s when Relay for Life got its start.

It was a quiet start to be sure, even though $27,000 three decades ago was a handsome sum. But amid all the purple and logo work and much more, remember also it wasn’t even called Relay back then.

Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in the Tacoma, Washington, area, ran and walked 83 miles over 24 hours. That’s more than three miles each hour, more than $1,000 each hour and a wealth of admiration.

His vision that day and night in May of 1985 was to raise money for his local American Cancer Society office, showing support to his patients who had battled cancer.

Since he ran marathons, he figured running laps was the way to go. So in Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, about 300 of his friends, family and patients watched, and some donated $25 to run or walk with him for 30 minutes.

But his time wasn’t idling by while he kept turning left.

He was dreaming, seeing an event that would be more like a relay. So when he gathered a committee of sorts and began to plan, the 1986 version — known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer — became the first team relay event.

Today the name is easier and patients who weren’t even born when he started are benefiting from the efforts of millions of us.

Cancer has no bias. Color, age, wealth, religion — name a category, it has no barrier.

Relay is a rallying point. There is comfort in support.

We’ve issued the challenge before, and we’ll do so again this year.

Make yours a Tri-County Relay. Participate in Relay events in all three counties, starting tonight or Saturday in Warren County. Granville County is next on May 16-17, and Vance County is scheduled June 20-21.

If you do even the smallest of things at Relay — stop by and donate, or stop by and walk a single lap, or let someone know you’re there in spirit if you can’t make the event — you are helping to save lives.