Relay for Life going to the dogs - sort of
With just over a month to go before the 2012 Carbon County Relay for Life, organizers and participants are moving fast to secure last minute fundraising and team-member recruitment before the big day. Chairperson Terri Lott, who is leading the Relay for the second straight year, promises a unique event this season as participants from every walk of life continue to dream of a cure.
"This disease attacks every day, making it a personal fight for nearly everyone in the Castle Valley," she said. "I am so proud to be part of the fight to find a cure."
To help draw a big crowd in 2012, event organizers are calling on animal lovers by hosting a "Bark for Life" fundraiser for the first time in Carbon County. This event provides an opportunity for people to be empowered through their canine companion partnerships and to contribute to cancer cures through the mission of the American Cancer Society.
"I was amazed to find out just how many dogs fight their own battle with cancer and how many families lose their pet because of this disease," explained Lott. "And in addition to fighting the disease themselves, dogs can provide so much strength as service and guide animals for their human owners."
During the Bark for Life, families and their pets will come together and complete a one mile walk to honor the care giving qualities of "Best Friends" as well as cancer survivors.
While the Bark event will be new in Carbon County this year, uplifting words from those who have battled cancer on the front lines are an annual tradition.
"I am so excited for everyone to see the guest speakers at this year's Relay," said Lott. "Those in attendance will be in for a real treat was we have some very powerful local individuals who have agreed to share their story."
One such Relay story will be getting a new chapter over the coming years as the saga of Dr. Gordy Klatt continues to evolve. According to the Relay for Life site, Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office and decided to raise the money personally for the fight by doing something he enjoyed, running marathons.
In May 1985 the Relay was born as Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 that first year as nearly 300 individuals watched as he ran and walked the course.
Klatt's story has come full circle as he disclosed recently that he is facing his own battle with stomach cancer. The doctor reportedly is currently going through a round of chemo and is looking at the possibility of surgery later in the summer.
"I am even more energized to defeat this disease worldwide. I will again be with all of you in spirit this Relay season - even more so this year." said Klatt via the Relay website. "Celebrate the survivors; remember those who lost the battle and fight back. We all need to celebrate more birthdays and by relaying we keep the hope alive through education, community involvement and fundraising for ongoing research."
To support the event on a local level one only needs to participate. The Carbon County Relay for Life will take place on June 22 and 23 at the USU Eastern track. The event will kick-off June 22 with a survivor dinner at 5 p.m. For more information, check out he Carbon relay online or call Lott at 650-5388. Those interested in having at team must submit their roster and t-shirt sizes for ordering before May 15.