(December 2010) - Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back!' These empowering words will once again be cheered throughout the community at Collegedale's 2nd annual Relay for Life' cancer benefit for the American Cancer Society (ACS), being planned for a Sunday, April 3 - 2011 event date at Veteran's Memorial Park.

The 2011 benefits presenting sponsor's CEO and Chairman, Dallas S. Bunton, Sr. from North American Credit Services and Medical Services of Chattanooga, knows all too well as a cancer survivor, of the real-life impacts in which this disease can turn one's life quickly upside down. "There are always mixed feelings in these events. Some family members do not make it and this leaves a void. I have however experienced the excitement of hope. Cancer can be overcome, you can have more years ahead. This outweighs everything - giving hope!"

Over Twenty-five years ago, in 1985, one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, laced up his shoes and took a track in Tacoma, Washington, to make a statement about fighting cancer. Dr. Klatt ran and walked 83 miles in 24 hours and raised $27,000 for the ACS. Today, Relay for Life' is celebrated in over 5,000 communities across American and in nineteen other countries.

"Isn't it amazing to think what one person's footsteps can do?" states Bunton. "Knowing this gives me the courage to help step forward along with other community leaders and organizations, to do our part in eliminating cancer. It's not going to be easy, nothing worthwhile ever is. But it is possible."

According to a report from the ACS national office, this year alone, more than 1,600 Hamilton County Tennessee Residents will be diagnosed with cancer and over 700 will die from this disease. "Those are unacceptable numbers." states Lisa Bishop, Executive Director of the American Cancer Society Mid-South Division. "However as we celebrate Relay for Life' now with over 25 Years of Hope, knowing that this international movement started with just one volunteer.  We're gearing up again for this year to celebrate for a second year in Collegedale and looking forward to future year's events, to put an end to Cancer together." Since in the early 1990's and the beginnings of the Relay' movement, the mortality rate has dropped 14 percent globally along with 11 million cancer survivors in the United States.  The ACS 24 hour, 365 days a year call center supports over million calls annually from individuals facing cancer. Additionally, the ACS has launched a clinical trials matching service at www.cancer.org that connects cancer patients with more than 64,000 different treatment options. 

Bunton states, "Not every story turns out like mine. Some have had more struggles, some did not make it through the struggle. Cancer events such as this one benefiting the local American Cancer Society, really give us all a reason to come together to celebrate, remember and to fight back."

To join the Collegedale planning committee, form a team, sponsorships or for more information, call Christy Johnson with the local American Cancer Society office at (423) 499-2600 or visit www.relayforlife.org/collegedale.

 -- 2011 Collegedale Relay for Life' presented by Medical Services of Chattanooga and North American Credit Services, Inc.


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