Help find a cure

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Despite the passage of nearly 20 years, the passion that fuels the flame within the hearts of those making efforts to rid the world from cancer still burns bright.

Next month, Relay will celebrate its 20th anniversary, celebrating the accomplishments of one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Washington, whose dream of an all-night event to raise funds for cancer research as well as to raise awareness to this disease was founded on the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. There, Dr. Klatt – using money generated by friends who donated $25 to run or walk with him for 30 minutes – raised $27,000.

One year later, 19 teams assembled on that same track in what proved to be the very first Relay for Life. That event generated $33,000.

Now, 20 years later, Relay for Life has become the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraising event.

Case-in-point was the annual Hertford-Gates Relay held April 15-16 at Chowan College. There, records were shattered in money raised ($213,235.07), luminaries sold (2,007), survivor registration (283), corporate sponsors (69) and participating teams (35).

Think about it – two rural, economically challenged counties in northeastern North Carolina were capable of generating over $200,000 for cancer research and education. That fact is linked to the compassionate individuals, churches and businesses found in these two counties. We may be small in size, but we are big in heart.

A special salute goes out to two women, both cancer survivors, who pulled off a $200,000-plus miracle. Bonnie Langdale and Maria Evans know all too well that cancer research holds the key to their survival, as well as that of countless individuals throughout the area whose lives have been altered by this disease. They are to be commended for the huge success that was the 2005 Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.

It’s still not to late to make a contribution to Relay. The Hertford-Gates group has until August to report its final tally. In the meantime, Bertie County will host its annual Relay in mid-May.

Dig deep and help these organizations find a cure. Who knows, the life saved by research funded by these events may be your own or that of a loved one.