Supporters of the American Cancer Society raised more than $500,000 this weekend at the 29th Relay for Life at Mount Tahoma High School.
The fundraising relay, founded as a one-man, 24-hour run by Tacoma surgeon Dr. Gordon Klatt in 1985, has grown into a regional and global phenomenon, with similar events held in 75 Western Washington communities and in 18 countries. The next relay starts Friday at Timberline High School in Lacey.
Team members take turns running or walking in the around-the-clock event. The Tacoma relay started at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at 6 p.m. Saturday. Participants raise money from sponsors throughout the year.
This weekend’s event drew an estimated 3,000 participants, including 133 teams, said Maria DeVore, one of the organizers. Participants also included about 500 cancer survivors.
It’s a relay tradition for cancer survivors to participate in the first lap. Another tradition that takes place after sunset is the lighting of luminaria — candles inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer.
“We celebrate, remember and fight back,” DeVore said.
Klatt, a cancer survivor, was at Friday’s opening ceremony.
“He let the crowd know he had more energy this year,” DeVore said.
To learn more, go online to relayforlife.org.Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635 debbie.cafazzo@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/education