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Our opinion: Relay legacy continues in region

According to the American Cancer Society web site, one person can make a difference. More than 30 years ago, that person was Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt.

In May 1985, he walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., raising money to help the American Cancer Society with the nation’s biggest health concern: cancer. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound.

Friends, family, and patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 83.6 miles and raised $27,000 through pledges to help save lives from cancer. As he circled the track, he thought of how he could get others to take part. He envisioned having teams participate in a 24-hour fundraising event. The next year, 19 teams were part of the first Relay For Life event at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.

Klatt’s impact and legacy continues here in Warren County. This year’s Relay for Life is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the North Warren Community Park on South State Street. “This year’s theme is ‘Walk, Rock and Roll,'” Wendy Carter, advertising coordinator for Warren County Pa. Relay for Life, said. “There will be music, games, raffles, food and more throughout the day.”

Carter explained that the featured speaker will be Chloe Frank, a woman from Ridgway who is a childhood survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia who was just 13 when diagnosed.

Almost everyone has been touched by cancer. But due to COVID-19, a lot of these Relay for Life events have lost steam with a number of communities ending the annual tradition.

We’re proud to see the efforts here in Warren continue.

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