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Power of Purple Party kicks off Relay for Life

Published March 20. 2012 05:01PM

The color purple really can convey quite the powerful message.

Further proof of that was evidenced at the Power of Purple Party held recently in the Palmerton Area High School cafeteria.

Hosted by the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of Palmerton & Surrounding Communities, the event served as the kick-off for the 11th annual event.

RoseMarie Murphy, American Cancer Society staff member, and a 12-year cancer survivor, served as guest speaker for the event.

Murphy stressed that individuals need to visit with their doctors whenever they don't feel right.

Survivors and caregivers in attendance were recognized, and those who have lost their fight were remembered,

Also, the group's Mission and Advocacy chairperson spoke about colorectal cancer, and the importance of being tested and getting screened.

The group also played Relay Rugby, at which point prizes were awarded.

By and large, the event achieved what it set out to accomplish, according to Connie Smith, event chairperson.

"It was very well attended; almost like a pep rally type of thing," Smith said. "We wanted to get everybody excited, back in the swing of things, and get people ready for Relay."

The theme of this year's Relay is "Rockin' Around the Clock for a Cure". The event, as always, is open to the public. Admission and parking are free.

This year's event will be held June 2-3 at the Lehighton Football Stadium. Construction at PAHS prompted the location change.

Smith said everyone is invited to come out, and added she hopes the location change will serve to attract more people.

"We're just hoping it will open it up to more people, so that they can really understand what Relay is," she said. "They can enjoy the food, games and entertainment throughout the day."

Relay For Life started on a lone track in Tacoma, Washington. In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed running marathons. So, in May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 to fight cancer. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt's friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course.

While he circled the track those 24 hours, he thought about how others could take part. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Months later he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

All proceeds benefit the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society. Call 1.888.227.5445 ext. 3112 for more information, or log onto

Please contact Chris Borger at (610) 442-6440 for further information.

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