To the editor:
You may have been hearing a lot about our Relay for Life event coming up this weekend. What you may not know is that Relay for Life is 27 years old this year.
The story of Relay is truly a portrait of a grassroots movement. In the mid 1980s Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma, Wash. colorectal surgeon wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and show his support for all of his patients who had battled cancer. In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling a track. He ran for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night people donated $25 to run or walk with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. His efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer; and Relay for Life was born.
You can be part of this important event; and you certainly don’t need to run for 24 hours like Dr. Klatt. We invite you to come out to Caribou high school on Friday June 1st and walk the track with us.
It all starts with the Survivor’s lap at 6 p.m. Survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer. We also recognize and celebrate caregivers as the event starts. These individuals give their time, love and support to friends, family neighbors, and coworkers who face cancer.
After the survivor’s lap and reception, the Relay starts with each team having at least one member walking the track at all times. There will be many events and fundraisers going on all night. There are games and crafts for kids; sales and raffles; as well as some pretty fun surprises.
After full dark at 10 p.m. we honor people who have fought cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside over 1,000 bags that line the track, each one bearing a name to honor or remember someone touched by cancer.
At midnight, participants pledge to work to conquer this disease in our Fight Back Ceremony. Everyone is invited to make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. The commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer research funding.
It is not too late to join or donate to a Relay team at www.relayforlife.org/aroostookme; or you can also just stop by on Friday and see what is it all about. The public is welcome up to and including the Luminaria ceremony at 10 p.m.
We are working to create a world with more birthdays; a world where no one has to hear those horrible three words: “you have cancer.” And when the final book is written on how cancer was eliminated, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life will have the last chapter. It will explain how millions of people in thousands of communities in our country and across the globe came together to eradicate a disease, forming the largest not-for-profit fundraising event in the world — the largest in humankind’s history.
To the editor: