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Jefferson County Relay for Life kicks off

By Staff | Mar 2, 2012

Ray Walls, honorary chair of Relay for Life.

Jefferson County’s annual Relay for Life event will take place June 22 at 7 p.m. at Charles Town Middle School. Organizers of the event held a kick-off rally Saturday, Feb. 25 to educate interested individuals about the Relay.

The Relay for Life concept was begun by a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., who decided to run marathons to raise funds for cancer research. In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours circling a track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. Friends paid $25 to run or walk with him over the 24-hour period. After traveling 83 miles, he raised $27,000 to help fight cancer.

In 1986, he, along with friends, developed the relay concept. Relays are now held nationwide and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research.

Chairing the 2012 Relay is Krystal Javor along with her husband, Frank. Krystal indicated that she has participated in the Relay event for four years with this being her second year in a leadership role.

“I won’t go anywhere until there’s a cure,” she said of her planned continued participation in the Relay events.

Joining in the festivities at Saturday’s kick-off was this year’s honorary chair, Ray Walls. Walls explained that he has survived cancer since his diagnosis in 1993 when the doctors gave him four months to live. The 76-year-old credits his faith in God and turning his problems over to God as the reason he is still here today.

“Don’t do nothing without God,” he told those gathered at the event. “He can take life away from you as fast as He gave it,” he continued.

Wall shared that his cancer was widespread and that he has been through many operations including those for skin cancer.

Jefferson’s Relay currently has 28 teams registered with 108 participants. So far the groups have raised more than $12,000 toward the June event. More information on the event can be found at the website www.main.acsevents.org.