Relay For Life begins Friday night

In hopes of reaching this year’s fundraising goal of $675,000, approximately 150 running and walking teams will fill Tacoma’s Stadium High School Bowl for this weekend’s 18th annual “City of Destiny Classic” Relay For Life to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Money raised from this event helps support the American Cancer Society’s programs that provide services to Pierce County cancer patients, as well as continuing education, risk reduction programs in schools and businesses and cancer research.
In 2001, an estimated 2,900 residents in Pierce County were diagnosed with cancer.
The Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s version of a relay.
Teams of 10 to 15 walking and running enthusiasts from area companies, organizations and neighborhoods raise money to support the fight against cancer.
A member of each team stays on the track for the entire event. Others not on the track will participate in fun activities happening throughout the 24-hour period.
The event kicks off at 6 p.m., on Friday, May 17 with a cancer survivors’ and caregivers’ victory lap around the track.
Those wanting to participate should arrive at the track by 5:30 p.m.
Following that, a Luminaria ceremony where candles will be lit in honor of those whose lives have been claimed by cancer will be held at 10 p.m.
The event ends the next evening, with closing ceremonies at 6 p.m.
The Relay For Life got its start in May of 1985 when Dr. Gordon Klatt took the first step of his 24-hour marathon around a track at the University of Puget Sound.
Dr. Klatt raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society that year.
A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event.
Since then, Relay For Life has become the American Cancer Society’s signature activity, connecting 3,125 communities across the nation in support of those who have been touched by cancer.
It is now the largest not-for-profit fundraising walk in the nation.
Since 1985, more than half a billion dollars have been raised.
In 2001, over 2 million people took part in their local Relay For Life events and raised $212 million.
Tacoma’s Relay For Life boasted 1,750 participants and raised $635,000.
Television viewers can watch the 24-hour event live on TV Tacoma, cable channel 12 on Click! Network and AT&T.
Tacoma’s Relay For Life is just one of several such events that will take place throughout the region during the spring and summer.
Following is a list of area Relay For Life events taking place:
– Central Pierce County; 6 p.m., May 17 to 6 p.m., May 18; Franklin Pierce High School, 11002 18th Ave. E.;
– Federal Way; 6 p.m., June 1 to 6 p.m. June 2; Federal Way Memorial Stadium, 1300 S. 308th;
– Gig Harbor; 6 p.m., June 7 to noon, June 8; Peninsula High School, Roy Anderson Memorial Field, 14105 Purdy Drive NW;
– Lakewood; 6 p.m., June 14 to 6 p.m., June 15; Lakewood Stadium, 6011 111th St. SW;
– Thurston County; 6 p.m., June 21 to 6 p.m. June 22; North Thurston High School Field, 610 NE Sleater Kinney, Lacey;
– Puyallup; 6 p.m., June 28 to 6 p.m., June 29; Sparks Stadium, 105 7th SW; and
– Sumner; 6 p.m., Aug. 16 to 6 p.m., Aug. 17; Sparks Stadium, 105 7th SW, Puyallup.
To register a team, purchase a luminaria in memory of a loved one who has battled cancer or to participate as a cancer survivor, contact the American Cancer Society Tacoma office at 1551 Broadway, Suite 200, or by calling 253/ 272-5767.
Stadium High School Football Bowl is located at 111 North E Street.
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