Fighting Cancer, One Step – And Donation – At A Time

We Are Hope sign at the Relay for Life Event

Good news: the death rate for cancer has been dropping for two decades and is continuing to decline in the United States. Overall cancer mortality is decreasing, said the recently released “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer,” thanks to prevention, early detection and more effective treatment – as well as the efforts of the many volunteers who raise funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS) through events such as Relay For Life.

GMS, Gator Gypsum and Capitol Materials recently made generous donations to the cause as part of a Relay event in Oviedo, FL in early April.

A Pervasive Enemy

gator gypsum supported the relay for lifeThe Relay for Life volunteer committee that work tirelessly all year to recruit people, teams, sponsors and raise money.

“Almost everyone knows someone who has had cancer,” Bob Grayson, area manager-east for the Gator Gypsum yard in Orlando, FL, said of his company’s decision to make a donation. “Many of us have also lost someone to cancer. That’s why we wanted to share in the Relay. We at Gator, as well as our colleagues at Capitol Materials and GMS, felt it was important to be part of this concerted, grassroots effort to fight the disease and perhaps, eventually, find a cure.”

This is the second year the companies have given to the ACS as part of the Relay event. Donations help the Cancer Society fund research and care for critical patients, as well as education and prevention efforts.

Step By Step

The ACS’s signature fundraiser, Relay For Life is a multi-day – and night – annual event staffed and coordinated entirely by volunteers. More than 5,200 communities in 27 countries participate, according to ACS figures. In the United States, some 3.5 million people are part of the event.

many sponsors supported the relay for lifeAll of our survivors who attended the event. They are always honored guests.

Most people show up for the event and participate as part of a team. Everyone in the group takes turns walking around a track to honor survivors and caregivers and remember loved ones lost to the disease. Because cancer never sleeps, at least one member of the team is always on the track for the duration of the event. Most relays go on for six to 24 hours.

Teams also set up themed campsites and collect donations of food or other items, which count toward their fundraising goals. Events also include a luminaria ceremony and candlelight vigil, a closing ceremony featuring a final lap for all participants as well as awards for various achievements, and a “fight back” ceremony in which participants vow to take further actions against cancer.

Relay For Life was inspired by the efforts of Dr. Gordon “Gordy” Klatt. In 1985, Klatt walked and ran around a track in Tacoma, WA for 24 straight hours to raise money for the ACS. Supported by friends, family and supporters, he logged more than 83 miles and presented the ACS with $27,000 raised through pledges.

The next year, 19 teams participated in the first Relay For Life and raised $33,000. Klatt died in 2014 from heart failure during his battle with stomach cancer. He was 71.

Today’s teams and additional donors help put more than $5 billion in the ACS’s coffers.

“We at Gator, Capital Materials and GMS are proud to donate to the American Cancer Society,” Grayson said. “One day, researchers may find a cure, and we will be able to say we were part of their success.”

About GMS

Founded in 1971, GMS operates a nationwide network of locally managed yards serving contractors, professional builders and do-it-yourself builders.

Gator Gypsum operates seven yards in Florida. Capital Materials maintains 19 yards in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

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