RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL)– It’s a disease that in one way or another we’ve been touched by, whether it be directly or indirectly. Friday night, people in Russell County came together in Crawford Park for the Relay for Life and joined in the fight against cancer.
Relay for Life is a grass roots, community-based team event in which cancer survivors and caregivers walk or run as a way to honor those affected by cancer.
Teams and sponsors were able to walk the track at the park and commit to take action against cancer. The luminarias lining the track represented each person touched by cancer.
Each light represented a life taken by cancer, a survivor or support for someone fighting the disease.
The event provides the opportunity for people to grieve while offering comfort and hope to others affected by the disease.
Relay for Life was started in 1985 by Dr. Gordon Klatt, who had previously battled stomach cancer. Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington to raise money for the American Cancer Society. He ran more than 83 miles and raised $27,000.
The next year, 19 teams were part of the first Relay For Life event at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.
Klatt passed away from heart failure in 2014, but his legacy lives on through Relay for Life.
“The significance of relay is that we walk laps in honor of our survivors and also in honor of people that have passed away,” said Margen Gadd, American Cancer Society Senior Development Manager. “So each lap and all of the money that the teams raise in honor of their team or specific person… it’s just a way to bring the community together like that.”
The American Cancer society hosts these events around the country to spread awareness to the community that their services are available through funds, time and awareness.
COVID-19 has at been the forefront of people’s medical concerns this year, but the American Cancer Society says it is more important than ever to get screened.
The event tonight was a unifying moment for those touched by the disease, but also a reminder for the work that is left to be done.