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Thursday, July 31, 2014

MU Relay for Life raises $92,000 for American Cancer Society

The Relay for Life event dates back to 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, decided to walk more than 83 miles around a track at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

May 6, 2014

This year's installment of the MU Relay for Life event was held at the Carnahan Quad on April 25.

The MU chapter raised over $92,000 for the American Cancer Society, crushing their original goal of $80,000, according to their website.

Relay for Life events are traditionally held overnight, and teams and participants take turns walking around the track. The laps symbolize the never-ending hope for a cure for cancer.

MU Relay for Life co-director Megan Graham said she has been on the committee since her freshman year. She said she was very proud of those coordinating the event and is excited for the future.

"A group of 50 Mizzou students really came together to coordinate this amazing event and raise money for the American Cancer Society with the hopes of one day finding a cure to cancer," Graham said. "I am amazed with all the hard work and dedication of my committee to pull off such a great event and cannot wait to see how successful they will be next year."

The 12-hour event was held outdoors for the first time in the MU chapter's history, and was student volunteer-led, with additional support from MU staff.

There were campsites surrounding the quad where participants walked. At those sites there were numerous activities available, including games, food, bounce houses, a photo booth and a petting zoo on Conley Avenue.

The Relay for Life event dates back to 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, decided to walk more than 83 miles around a track at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington..

Dr. Klatt raised more than $27,000 for the American Cancer Society for those suffering from the disease. Nearly 300 individuals came to support Dr. Klatt's cause. Those supporting him would donate $25 to walk or run alongside him for a half-hour of his journey.

Today, Relay for Life now donates approximately $400 million annually to the ACS in support of the cause, according to their website.

Relay for Life local sponsor Emily Beydler said she lauded those in every aspect involved and praised the event for what it does.

"This event really captured the spirit of what Relay for Life is. Everyone who was involved did an amazing job," she said. "We had about 30 cancer survivors and caregivers. We were able to honor those involved with gifts and a free dinner."

An estimated 600 people showed up for the event, consisting of students, families, professors and their families and other staff members at MU.

Student organizations such as Mizzou Forte and Comedy Wars also came out to the event to perform.

Additionally, there were several ceremonies held throughout the duration of the event.

One was held in memory and hope for those whose lives had been affected by cancer. Another involved Skyping members of the Missouri State University’s Relay For Life chapter and pledging to fight against cancer.

Beydler said the issue hit her on a personal level because she has lost family members to the disease.

"My uncle — my mother's brother — and my aunt — my dad's sister — and a number of extended family members were lost to cancer," Beydler said.

Graham said she also has a personal connection to the disease. It has affected many people in her life.

"I relay for my grandma, who passed away from pancreatic cancer five years ago," Graham said in an email. "So many people in my life have battled with cancer."

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