Relay for Life
March 25, 2012
By Serry Park
Class of 2012
I cannot even begin to describe the flood of emotions when I saw John Valenzuela walk the survivor lap last year at the Relay for Life in Ventura.
My heart was racing, tears were streaming down my face. I was overjoyed, excited even, to be there and witness something so great. But above all other emotions, I was proud. I was proud to see Mr. Valenzuela walking with such an admirable resilience and strength. I was proud to see my fellow spuds cheering him on and raising more than $5,000 to help people like Mr. Valenzuela walk the survivor lap, too.
It all started with one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, who took action in the fight against cancer. In May of 1985, Klatt, a marathon runner, began running in his 24-hour relay, inviting his friends to come and participate for $25. That day, more than 300 supporters joined Klatt on that track and together they raised $27,000. Since then, the Relay for Life has only burgeoned, raising more money and saving more lives.
To some, it may seem tedious or like a waste of time. So why do I do it?
I do it because of the sense of community that is there on that track. People from all walks of life gather for one cause, and that alone is beautiful.
I do it because I am given the privilege to watch the many honorable survivors walk that first powerful lap.