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About the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life By Sierra Shoopman

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

posted at All Rights ReservedRelay for Life follows in the footsteps of Dr. Gordy Klatt, who in 1985 ran for a full day in Tacoma, Washington, to raise more than $25,000 for the American Cancer Society. In the following year, hundreds of people inspired by Dr. Klatt’s initial effort turned his fundraiser into a tradition that spread across the globe, bringing in billions of dollars to support cancer research and prevention.

Since the organization’s founding, Relay for Life evolved new traditions to complement the old. Each event includes the Survivors Lap, in which cancer survivors walk to celebrate defeating the disease. After nightfall, volunteers light candles as part of the Luminaria Ceremony in remembrance of people who passed away as result of cancer. The Fight Back Ceremony reminds volunteers to take an active role in the battle against this all-too-common condition.

Interested parties can search for local Relay for Life events and sign up to volunteer at



A recent graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, Sierra Shoopman participated in and raised money for Relay for Life for the last twelve years.


A Look at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by Sierra Shoopman

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment


Organized across the country, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life endeavor is a team event for the entire community. A scheduled, overnight fundraising walk, Relay for Life features groups of people camping and walking around a track. Members of the team not engaged in the walk can enjoy entertainment, food, and games as they wait for their turn. Although each location has its own traditions, there are some key moments shared by all Relays for Life, such as the Survivors Lap, when cancer survivors walk the first lap.

The inaugural Relay for Life occurred in May 1985 as Dr. Gordy Klatt moved around a track for 24 hours straight. More than 340 people joined him the following year. Since then, Relay for Life has become a significant part of the American Cancer Society’s initiatives, and it has raised more than $4 billion over the past 27 years. To find a nearby gathering, log onto

About the Author:

Interested in a career in medicine, Sierra Shoopman earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington, shadowed optometrists and ophthalmologists, and served as an Office Assistant at Northwest Dental Consultants, Inc. For over a decade, Shoopman raised money for and participated in Relay for Life.

Sierra Shoopman Discusses the Stream Team

In 1990, the governments of several counties throughout Washington State started Stream Team to engage citizens in bettering their communities. Local creeks benefited from the support and hands-on improvements of townspeople who participated in basin planning projects. Today, Stream Teams remain committed to enhancing the region’s water resources and wildlife habitats.

Since its creation, Stream Teams have provided people with numerous opportunities to volunteer and explore nature. Youth, civic, and religious groups get to learn about the environment while experiencing it up close. The organization runs amphibian, shorebird, and macroinvertebrate monitoring programs throughout the year while allowing individuals to act as stewards for various species of fish. Over the past 22 years, its volunteers have completed more than 45,000 hours of service and identified over 5,000 storm drains.

About the Author:

A recent graduate of the University of Washington, Sierra Shoopman majored in biology and minored in chemistry. During her spare time, Shoopman beautified her community by participating with the Thurston County Stream Team, restored stream habitats, and marked storm water drains.