Monday, May 12, 2014

Relay For Life

Relay For Life has been raising money for the American Cancer Society since 1985, when Gordy Klatt came up with a way to raise funds for his local American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, Washington, and show support of all his patients who had battled cancer.  He did this by spending 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound.  He ran more than 83 miles and his efforts raised $27,000 to fight cancer.  It has only gotten bigger and better from there.

Relay For Life events are held for the purpose of celebrating cancer survivors, remembering those we have lost, and giving hope that one day the world may be cancer free.  Through the celebrating and remembering, the success gets passed along to the American Cancer society through the fundraising that happens all year long.  With each Relay For life that takes place, it adds to the overall funding that can be used toward cancer research and treatments.

Volunteers from all around Polk County are preparing for this years Relay For Life celebration that will he held May 30th starting at 6:00 P.M. at Janssen Park in Mena.  15 teams of hard working local volunteers have been raising money to be used in the fight against cancer.  This year alone, because of the fundraising efforts of over 5,200 Relays in the U.S., the American Cancer Society is funding research for over fifty different types of cancer.

This year has seen some new and innovative fundraising efforts by Relay For Life team members.  There has been a Flushing out Cancer toilet bouquet seen around town.  The Boots vs. Burgers Basketball Bash was a lot of fun.   The Melanoma Awareness Prevention Program Pageant had over 40 participants and the audience filled the Crossing auditorium.  The Miss-ter Relay Pageant was highly entertaining.

Relay For Life of Polk County volunteers are serious about fighting cancer.  They are fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in our community. Each volunteer who works to benefit Relay For Life takes pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten our loved ones or rob anyone of another birthday.

For the past eight years my wife and I have worked tirelessly to raise money for cancer research.  One of my wife's motivations is the story of her mothers struggle with cancer.  Even though her mother's cancer was terminal, she agreed to be a part of a bone marrow study that was funded by the American Cancer Society.  My wife and her family tried to talk her out of it knowing how painful it would be, but she said, "you never know who you might help".  She lost her battle with cancer in 1976.  20 years later a bone marrow transplant, made possible by that research from 1976, saved my wife's sister's life.  Recently my wife's cousin was diagnosed with Leukemia and was told that without a bone marrow transplant his life expectancy was just three months.  After a successful bone marrow transplant his cancer is now in remission.  My wife's mother was willing to take part in research because it might help a complete stranger not knowing that it would end up saving the lives of family that she loved.  Research that is being conducted today will save many lives in the future.

A little over a year ago my Mom learned that she had a cancerous kidney tumor. Last February she underwent treatment on her kidney tumor. The procedure that the doctors used is called cryoablation.  Cryoablation uses hollow needles that are inserted into the tumor. When the probes are in place, the cryogenic freezing unit  uses cold energy to destroy the cancerous tissue.  I have spent the last eight years doing all that I can to raise money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.  When I first got involved with Relay For Life the procedure that was used on my Mom last year was just in the research stage.  It has only become an available treatment in the last three years.  Research that was funded by money that I helped raise right here in Polk County ended up providing a treatment and cure for my Mom.  With cryoablation treatment kidney cancer is cured in approximately 97 percent of patients.

Research is at the heart of Relay For Life.  For more than 65 years, the American Cancer Society has been finding answers that save lives - from changes in lifestyle to new approaches in therapies to improving cancer patients' quality-of-life.  In fact, no single nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization in the US has invested more to find the causes and cures of cancer.

You can be a part of Relay For Life by searching for a Relay near you at this link.

To read many other great blogs or to become part of the ABC Wednesday family click here.


  1. Well done. Cancer research is so important.

  2. Good cause. My dad died of prostate cancer in 2000
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  3. What a great story about your wife's mother and her willingness to help research.

  4. Excellent cause that strikes close to home. Because of problems with walking/running, I choose to donate.

    abcw team

  5. Very nice to raise money this way ! We have similar actions here too.
    ABC Team