The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay For Life event, which was created to support cancer survivors and remember those who lost to the disease, teamed up with the music website AudioAddiktion.com and local musicians in Las Vegas to celebrate life with music and loved ones. The main stage featured performances by musicians Almost Normal, Rob and Pure Joy, and Justin James Turner, along with belly dancers, a comedy improv group and many other fun entertainments throughout the day.
The 24-hour-long event was hosted at Centennial High School and included 400 participants. The Relay For Life groups camped out overnight and took turns running or walking on the track for the entire twenty-four hours because cancer never sleeps, so each team was requested to have a participant on the track at all times.
The opening ceremony began at 10 a.m. with one of the Relay For Life participants performing the National Anthem and four members from the Marine Corps saluting in full attire. Each year, cancer survivors look forward to completing their “Survivors Lap” around the track, which commemorates what they have overcome in fighting the disease. Hundreds of cancer-free participants happily walked their victory lap, carrying the Relay For Life banner and cheering each other on in support.
Relay For Life teamed up with Audio Addiktion and local musicians in Las Vegas to use music to positively encourage those who have won the fight against cancer to rejoice in their difficult journey and triumphs.
Almost Normal played Discover along with several of their other singles from their new album, I Shot the Moon, during the touching celebration and debut of the event. Participants were gleefully enjoying the band’s inspirational Pop/Alternative sound, invigorated by the music and the reminder that they had won the battle.
Later in the evening, Rob and Pure Joy entertained the relay teams with their Indie vibe; Pure Joy captivating the listeners with her incredible vocal prowess. Singer-songwriter Justin James Turner performed last, enticing the participants with his tantalizing tenor tone.
One of the most memorable aspects of every year at Relay For Life is the tranquil Luminaria ceremony. White paper bags are personalized with the person’s name that lost to cancer or someone who is still struggling with the illness. Each bag has a candle in it which is lit to honor the individual’s life. Before the bags were lit, they were scattered across the bleachers spelling out the word “HOPE”.
Colorectal Surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt came up with the Relay For Life concept when he decided to personally raise money to help fight cancer with his local American Cancer Society office by running marathons. Klatt began his first sponsored relay in May of 1985 at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, Washington, where he walked and ran for an entire 24 hours straight and raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
Since that moment, Klatt developed his dream into a reality and created his first Relay For Life team in 1986, raising a total of $33,000. Relay For Life matured into 5,200 events across the nation, and over 4 million people in 20 countries have raised almost $5 billion for cancer research in order to help save lives.
Twenty-six years after Klatt founded Relay For life, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Although he is still fighting the disease, Klatt continues to participate in the annual event he originally developed to lift up others with cancer, remember friends and family who lost the battle, and rejoice in those who were victorious.
He stated that, “cancer can personally affect everyone. It affects the rich, the poor, and all nationalities and cultures around the world.”
Although the illness continues to affect thousands of people around the world, Relay For Life and many other organizations will do anything and everything they can to prevent cancer from taking over innocent lives. Relay For Life teamed up with Audio Addiktion and local musicians in Las Vegas to positively impact those who attended the event, hopefully giving them the motivation they needed to stay strong even during the most difficult times.
By Amy Nelson