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Ruach Relay for Life Sets Precedent in Roswell

The relay kicks off Oct. 14 at Roswell Area Park.

It is true: one person can make a difference. 

In an effort to raise money for the local American Cancer Society office in Tacoma and to show support for all of his patients who had battled cancer Dr. Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium for a total of more than 83 miles while friends, family and patients watched. Throughout the night people donated $25 each to run or walk the course with him for 30 minutes and the Relay for Life was born. 

Once again one person has seen the need to make a change and make a difference for the local Jewish community. 

Realizing that many Jewish supporters were restricted from the annual Relay because it was on Shabbat, Sheryl Blechner, past president of Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, with the support and encouragement of Steve Gerson, current President of Temple Beth Tikvah and Esther Shultz, a Beth Tikvah member on the Relay of Life Roswell Steering Committee, approached the American Cancer Society with the idea of a separate relay that - while not faith based - would consider and respect the needs of those in the Jewish community who could not participate without compromising their religious beliefs.

After four months of research and due diligence, it was determined that there was no precedent for this anywhere in the world and thus the Relay for Life Ruach Atlanta was born. Ruach (Spirit) is the very essence of what the relay is about. 

It is about life, survival and remembrance.

Blechner approached the American Cancer Society with a three year plan. Years one and two would incorporate the twelve congregations north of the Chattahoochee and year three would see the event move to a larger venue and include the entire Jewish community. The year one Steering Committee will include representatives from Temple Beth Tikvah, Temple Kol Emeth, Congregation Ner Tamid and Congregation Etz Chaim.   

With a participant goal of 20 teams of 10 and a financial goal of $30,000, the relay is destined to be the beginning of a tradition around the world.

The kick off for the ambitious event will be on Oct. 14 from 1 p.m. at Roswell Area Park and, in keeping with the integrity of the original, will maintain the key components of the relay which will be an opening ceremony, a Survivor Walk and Survivor Dinner.

For information on creating a team and signing up for this inaugural event visit the Ruach Relay webpage.

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