Hundreds participated in the Cherokee County Relay For Life at Koser-Spring Lake Park in Cherokee this year, with 85 cancer survivors and their care givers recognized at this year's successful event, celebrating the Relay For Life's 25th year.
Since the ACS Relay For Life began in 1985, it has become an international movement to end cancer. Now the largest grassroots fundraising event in the world, Relay For Life is such a success because of the impact of its volunteers around the globe.
In Year 2009, more than 3.5 million American Relay For Life supporters raised an estimated $400 million. The Relay has raised more than $3.5 billion to fight cancer since 1985.
In total, 5,100 communities in the United States, including Cherokee, hosted Relay For Life events in 2009.
Across the United States 150 new communities joined the Relay For Life movement in 2009.
The Relay For Life events are overnight team events up to 24 hours long. Groups of 8-15 people form a Relay Team and camp out at a local park, track, stadium, or fairgrounds for the events. They take turns walking, jogging, or running around a track or path, with each Team asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event.
In Cherokee, Relay participants travel on the scenic 1.3 mile hiking/biking path around Spring Lake. Accompanying the community Relays are music, food, and other entertainment for the Relay supporters, and hundreds of luminaries lighting the path while creating a poignant, spritual scene and mood.
Nearly 1,000 Relay For Life events now take place in 20 countries outside the United States. Add those to today's 5,100 American communities hosting Relays, and Relay founder Dr. Gordy Klatt's initial walk/jog/run around a track in Tacoma, Wash. in 1985 that started it all is a full-fledged phenomenon.
Thanks largely to the Relay For Life participants, the American Cancer Society is saving lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against cancer.
The ACS offers around-the-clock information and support online or toll-free through its cancer information hotline. Each year, the ACS provides information, help, and support to the nearly one million people who call at 1-800-227-2345.
The ACS has contributed directly to a 15-percent decrease in the overall cancer death rate between the early 1990s and 2005. The 11 million cancer survivors in America who will celebrate a birthday this year are proof of the progress the ACS and its many supporters are making together.
Myla Stoneking and Tandra Naslund of Cherokee were Relay For Life co-chairs for Cherokee County this year.