Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dr. Gordon Klatt: This one's for you!

Once upon a time there was a boy from Tacoma, Washington named Gordon. Maybe his family and friends called him Gordy or Little G or Bubba... maybe not. Anyway, Gordon grew up to be a doctor which is pretty awesome and a profession that any mother and father would be proud of. His patients know him as the colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordon Klatt. The world knows him as the founder of the Relay for Life.

Dr. Klatt had seen a lot of cancer in his office and he was growing frustrated. In May of 1985 Dr. Klatt decided to raise some money for the American Cancer Society. He thought about all the things he could do -- a bake sale, a car wash, maybe hold a rummage sale. But he loved his patients and he wanted to something that really honored him. He had to do something more...

So, he decided to walk.

For 24 straight hours he would walk and he would let friends walk or run with him for 30 minutes if they donated $25. Which they did. A lot of them did. And he raised $27,000. And walked 83 miles.

He could have stopped there, but he didn't. Because he knew there was more to be done. So he thought of how he could get more people involved and more people to do what he did. That's why today the overnight Relay for Life has spread to 21 countries. Countries, people. Twenty one of them.

Dr. Gordon Klatt had made a huge difference in the world of cancer! Not only through his medical practice but also through monetary donatations and the educational awareness the Relay for Life provides.

And then, in a sad twist of irony, the kind that makes you choke back tears and swallow down hard, Dr. Gordon Klatt was diagnosed with cancer.

The doctor becomes the patient.

And cancer proves to us once again she picks whoever she damn well pleases.

Dr. Klatt won't give up fighting. According to the June 5, 2012, Puget Sound Business Journal, he planned on walking at that Friday's Relay for Life for however long he could (given that he's currently undergoing chemotherapy). He's scheduled for surgery within a couple weeks and he'll be tackling his cancer head on, just like he's tackled all his patients' cancers.

Dr. Klatt, this one's for you!

Dr. Gordon Klatt: Relay For Life founder and 2012 Keynote Speaker
Photo by  Rodika Tollefson

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