Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, M.D, founder of the Cancer Council's Relay For Life event passed away August 3, 2014, at the age of 71 from heart failure after battling stomach cancer.
In 1985, Klatt single-handedly changed the way the American Cancer Society raises funds by combining his passion for running with his passion for fighting against cancer. Klatt ran around the track at University of Puget Sound for 24 hours and raised $27,000 in tribute to a young man who died of the disease.
The next year, 220 people on 19 teams joined him, and a worldwide phenomenon was born.
In 1994, it became the American Cancer Society’s signature event. Today, the Relay For Life is held in 23 countries and has raised nearly $5 billion.
“Gordy Klatt changed the face of the fight against cancer forever,” said one of his patients, Pat Flynn, who helped Klatt turn his solitary run into a team event the following year.
“He’s not going to be forgotten because he’s the guy who started the Relay,” said Harvey Rosen, who knew Klatt for decades. “It’s not even a local legacy, it’s a worldwide legacy. Every time there’s a Relay, he’s going to be remembered.”
For more information about Gordy and his mission click here. You can also leave your messages of condolances on the page.