Mention the word “cancer,” and almost every person can relate an experience, be it with a family member, a friend or that individual him or herself. In spite of research and progress in the fight against this dreaded disease, an individual can easily feel ineffective and hopeless in the quest for a cure. However, the ideas and actions of one man did indeed make a difference and created a worldwide phenomenon.
In 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon walked and ran for hours around a track in Tacoma, WA, raising $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. This was the birth of the Relay For Life, which has grown to become a global movement, raising $5 billion to fight cancer. Sadly, Dr. Klatt passed away August 3, 2014, from heart failure after battling stomach cancer. Although he is not here to celebrate, the 30-year anniversary of his creation, his legacy lives on. Today, the Relay For Life continues to celebrate survivors, remember those who have lost their battle, and fight back in the hope of eliminating cancer from our world.
Marco Island resident Maureen Chodaba is one such survivor. She credits research funded by the American Cancer Society with saving her life. Chodaba says, “My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1968 and died less than a year later. When I was diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 38, I felt that I was looking at a death sentence. I am alive today, because of the efforts of individuals who have raised funds for research and better methods of treatment. As a survivor, I will not give up the fight until we find a cure.”
Chodaba looks forward to participating in the 2015 Relay For Life of Marco Island — “One World One Hope” — to be held on April 18, 2015, 11 AM-11 PM at Marco Island’s beautiful Mackle Park. Chodaba continues, “Mackle Park is the perfect setting for this wonderful community event. The Relay For Life is a walking event. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate. It’s a perfect event for the entire family!”
The American Cancer Society and the committee for the 2015 Relay For Life of Marco Island cordially invite everyone in the community to attend the kick-off for this family-friendly community event in the fight against cancer. The kick-off will take place on Tuesday, October 28, 5:30-7:30 PM at the Marco Lutheran Church, 525 North Collier Blvd. Come and learn how YOU can make a difference.
For more information and to RSVP for the kick-off, please call the American Cancer Society at 239-642-8800 or email Sue.Olszak@cancer.org.