Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon and avid runner, took the first step of his 24-hour walk/run around a track in Tacoma, Wash., in May 1985.
He clocked 83 miles, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society.
The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Klatt in this overnight event, and the American Cancer Society Relay For Life began.
Over the last 18 years, Relay For Life has spread to 3,800 communities in the United States and eight foreign countries.
You could say it was an overnight success.
Relay chairman Dr. Ruth Adams has been involved for three years with the event.
"We stay up all night, not everybody, but a lot of us do," Adams said.
"This is the fifth year of the relay here in Carson City, and this is my third year. I got involved with it three years ago because my youngest sister died of breast cancer."
Adams hopes to see a lot of survivors.
"I'm hoping we get a lot of people, last year we had 122 survivors show up for the survivor event, and we're hoping to have 300 survivors this year."
The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Carson City will be held at the Carson High School Track, 12 p.m.-9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The annual walk will begin Saturday at the Carson High School track to raise funds and will continue Sunday morning.
The Cancer Society will have another relay at Lampe Park on July 19 and at Incline Village Aug. 15.
Relay For Life is an event designed to celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for research and programs.
During the event teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps.
Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.
According to the society's Web site, the relay represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day, cancer will be eliminated.
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's main event. It offers everyone in a community a chance to participate in the fight against cancer.
Teams form from businesses, clubs, families, friends, hospitals, churches, schools, and service organizations.
Relay For Life also raises funds. Teams solicit donations, have garage sales, and hold car washes.
The relay also allows a community to grieve for those lost to cancer and to celebrate the lives of those who have survived.
For the newly diagnosed or in treatment, relay offers a chance to meet others who have survived the same type of cancer.
Sign up for the Relay for Life by sending a $10 check to 6490 S McCarran Road No. 40, Reno, Nev., 89502 by 2 p.m. July 12. Make checks payable to the American Cancer Society. For more information, contact Martha Aston Walker at 329-0609 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org