Life to the fullest

One person can make a difference.

On April 24-25, Sam Houston State University will exhibit this mantra by hosting its 4th Annual Relay for Life Marathon to honor cancer survivors, pay tribute to those lives lost to cancer and raise money to help fight cancer.

Relay for Life began in Tacoma as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer. Dr. Gordy Klatt wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office, so in May 1985, he spent a full 24 hours circling the track Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. As he walked, friends would pay $25 to join him for 30 minutes, eventually raising $27,000 for the fight against cancer.

Klatt eventually wanted to turn this into a team event, where people from all throughout a community would join together for a 24-hour relay to raise more money. In 1986, the first relay event took place at Stadium Bowl, with 19 teams raising $33,000.

By working together and raising money, the students at SHSU hope to help and inspire cancer patients around the nation in contributing to the fight against the disease.

SHSU alumni and founder of the local chapter of Colleges Against Cancer Krystal Foss created the idea for the first Relay for Life at SHSU in 2006 as a way for college students to participate in the fight against cancer.

“[She] had a vision that we would do something that would reach the college students to get together to find one solid act to fight back against cancer,” said Stephanie Buck, the Bearkat Relay for Life event chair.

So far this year, 530 participants have signed up for the event in Bowers Stadium and the goal is to raise $15,000. At last year’s event, there were about 100 less people and they raised $12,000.

Students can get involved in SHSU’s Relay for Life by contacting Buck at or Katy Henry at or attend one of the Relay meetings in LSC 321 at 5:30 pm on Thursdays.

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