Relay for Life: One sleepless night to fight cancer

SYCAMORE – The 18th annual Relay for Life of DeKalb County begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 21, on the track at Sycamore High School. The American Cancer Society fundraiser ends 12 hours later, at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Since 1996, when the first Relay For Life took place in DeKalb County, more than $1.5 million dollars has been raised for the fight against cancer.

For many people, the fight against cancer is personal. They have lost their parent, their sibling, their aunt/uncle, their grandmother/grandfather, their best friends. They have also seen their loved ones survive. They have been diagnosed and won their own battle. But the battle is daily, and people are still being diagnosed with cancer and are still having to fight.

On June 21, fundraising teams that have formed throughout the year will join together and celebrate those survivors who are winning the fight. A survivor dinner will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and feature a local survivor speaking about her experience with cancer and her experience with the KishHealth System Cancer Center. An opening ceremony will begin around 6 p.m. and feature a local survivor who will speak about his fight and his experience as a community member battling cancer.

An opening lap will celebrate cancer survivors, followed by a caregiver lap. Throughout the evening there will be activities for all ages as well as a silent auction. Food and music will be available and teams will have a chance to continue their fundraising on-site. At dusk, a luminaria ceremony will take place to remember those who have lost their battle or are still battling. At 10:30 p.m., there will be a Fight Back ceremony where people will pledge to do something more in the fight against cancer – eating healthier, getting more exercise, getting crucial screenings, or just being a better caregiver to a cancer survivor.

Teams will take the track after the opening ceremony and will walk until 6 a.m. Team members take turns walking, as each team will be represented on the track at all times.

Back in 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt took to the track on his own. He realized that cancer never sleeps, and so he decided not to sleep as well. In 2012, Dr. Klatt became a cancer survivor. Today he is pushing even harder for this fight to be over and for there to be a cure found. Thirty events later, he can still be found at his own home event in Tacoma, alongside many other cancer survivors.

To form a team, buy a luminarium or make a donation, visit or call at 630-879-9009. Cancer survivors who would like to attend the dinner should call to register or sign up online. This event is open to the public and free to attend.

Local sponsors include A&P Grain Systems Inc, BPOE DeKalb Elks Lodge 765, BPOE Sycamore Elks Lodge 1392, Conventions Psychiatry and Counseling, Digestive Health Center, Doug and Lynn Roberts Family Foundation, Elburn Co-Op, Frick Carpet Cleaning, Illinois Community Credit Union, KishHealth System, Lehan Drugs, Mass Mutual, Massages by Mandy, Mike Dienst Farm, Naperville Weightloss, National Bank and Trust, Northern Illinois ENT Specialists, Nestle USA, O’Donnell Crane, P&A Pellarin Associates Inc, Paulsen Appliances and Electronics, Powell Insurance Agency, Ridge Ambulance Service, Tangles, Thompson Industries Inc, Yard Smart, WLBK/WSQR/WSPY, Daily Chronicle and Shaw Media, B95.

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