Relay For Life kicks off its 20th annual event

2014 marks the 20th annual Relay For Life River of Hope Classic of Stillwater. Relay For Life was started in 1985 by Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Wash., who is a former Stillwater resident.

Klatt aimed to raise funds and bring awareness to cancer and the need for prevention and a cure. In 1985 Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours and friends and family paid to join him on the track. That year Klatt walked and ran 83 miles and raised $27,000. More than 300 family and friends were on hand to help cheer him on.

While he circled the track he thought of ways that others could be involved. A small committee was formed shortly thereafter and a Relay For Life team event started the next year in Tacoma. There are now Relays in more than 18 countries outside of the United States. Relays have changed over the years, but the mission remains the same: raise funds for research, find a cure, and help those fighting their battle. Every event is different but we all use the same tagline: Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. These words are used by the American Cancer Society as part of their campaign to raise awareness.

There are many events happening this year to celebrate 20 years of Relay for Life. The relay is an 18 hour event, beginning 6 p.m. Aug. 1 and running until noon, Aug. 2. For those who want to learn more, there is a kick-off event 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1910 S. Greeley St., Stillwater.

For more information, contact Christina Manelli at 651-255-8722, Lois Raboin at 612-210-9948, or