Updated: Jul 13
Deadline to sign up May 26
It all began in May 1985, when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours
around a track in Tacoma, Washington raising money to help the American Cancer
Society with the nation’s biggest health concern—CANCER. Friends, family, and
patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 83.6 miles and
raised $27,000 through pledges to help save lives from cancer. As he circled the
track, he thought of how he could get others to take part. He envisioned having
teams participate in a 24-hour fundraising event. The next year, 19 teams were part
of the first Relay and raised $33,000. Gordy passed away on August 3, 2014, at the
age of 71 from heart failure and battling stomach cancer. But his legacy still lives
on. He helped shape an idea that started as one man walking and running a track
and helped turn it into a global event raising over $5 billion to help save lives
throughout the world.
Relays were 12, 18, and 24 hours long until Covid came into effect in 2020. The
American Cancer Society cancelled all relays globally in 2020 and only drive-thru
events were allowed in 2021. In March 2022 they announced that we could again
have in-person Relays, but for only 6-8 hours. They called 2022 a year of
rebuilding Relay for Life.
This year’s Huntington County Relay for Life will be held on Friday, June 2 from
6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Parkview Huntington YMCA. Opening ceremonies will
begin at 6:00 p.m. with the singing of the National Anthem, Mayor Richard Strick
will be reading the Relay Proclamation, and an opening prayer by Pastor Jason
Parsons. Survivors will then take the first lap around the track and then their
caregiver and family will join them for the second lap. At that time anyone in the
community is invited to come join the fun walking the track or joining in the
activities that evening.
At approximately 10:00 p.m. the Luminaria Ceremony will take place. This is a
silent walk around the track as the names of cancer survivors are honored and the
names of those who have lost their battle with cancer are read. This year’s readers
are Chant Thompson and Rev. Josh Kesler.
As of May 15, Huntington County has 22 teams registered for this year. On
Thursday, June 1 we will honor our survivors with a Survivor Celebration Night. If
you are a cancer survivor in Huntington County, and would like to come to the
survivor event, contact Sally Keyser at 358-6614 for reservations by May 26.
Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
The money raised through Relay for Life events helps realize the American Cancer
Society’s mission: to save lives and celebrate life. Every day donations are used to
fund live-saving cancer research, patient support programs, prevention information
and education, and detection and treatment programs. Huntington County has
many businesses that support Relay for Life. This year we have over 50 businesses
that are donating to this great cause. Relay is a family friendly event that is open to
the public. Food will be available for purchase with all proceeds going to
Huntington County Relay for Life. The Event Leadership Team for 2023 is – Beth
Blocker, Megan Bobay, Yvette Jarvis, Sally Keyser, David Kiefer, Mark Kiefer,
Vickie Kiefer, John Koch, Joy Koch, Tanya Latta, Lori Mickley, Sally Morrison,
and Sandy Stephan.
Everyone on the Leadership Team is either a cancer survivor or has a friend or
family member that has been touched by cancer. This event is very near and dear to
each of us.
People ask why do you relay. We relay for family, friends, teachers, neighbors, and
people everywhere who have lost their battle with cancer. We relay for all those
who have fought the fight and won the battle through new medicines, treatments,
and new equipment that makes surgeries easier and less evasive. We will continue
to relay until we rid this world of this disease that affects all of us. We relay
because we want everyone to celebrate, remember, and fight back. We invite you to
come join us in the battle by participating in Relay for Life of Huntington County.