Relay for Life Katy set to fight cancer Oct. 23

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 9/9/21

Relay for Life Katy is coming to kick cancer’s backside out of Katy on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Katy City Park according to Brenda Martin, one of the event’s organizers.

“It’s …

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Relay for Life Katy set to fight cancer Oct. 23

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Relay for Life Katy is coming to kick cancer’s backside out of Katy on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Katy City Park according to Brenda Martin, one of the event’s organizers.

“It’s an actual whole experience,” Martin said. “Originally, it started in 1985 when a doctor walked for 24 hours to raise money and awareness for cancer. From there, it started every year. In the past, we’ve had it all night and the theory is that you have a team and someone from your team is walking the track the entire time.”

Martin said the walking portion of the event isn’t policed and the event has really become a festival to celebrate victories over cancer, whether those victories are personal recoveries or research advancements. Participants form teams to raise awareness and fundraise for the American Cancer Society. Each team solicits donations through networking from the time they sign up – registrations are currently open at https://bit.ly/3jRUmQT - until the event in October.

During the event, each team has a camp or tent to hang out at between laps and cancer survivors, caregivers and those who just want to make a difference in the fight against the disease walk laps around the Katy City Park at 5720 Franz Road in Katy in a relay-inspired health walk.

“The first lap is the survivor lap – it’s just very moving,” said Martin. “And then the caregivers join the next lap and then people who are walking to support the cause. There’s bounce houses and activities for the kids. There’s entertainment going the whole time.”

Relay for Life Katy is also a good way for the community to get together after the difficulties of the past 18 months and more facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin said. The event provides a sense of community.

For Martin, finding that sense of community started when her late husband, Tal Martin, had been diagnosed with cancer nine years ago, she said. She was at the MD Anderson Cancer Center waiting for him to finish treatment when she noticed some materials related to the Relay for Life national event. At first, she dismissed it because of the term “relay,” she said. But as she got bored, she picked up the flyer and realized that it wasn’t really a running event, but rather an awareness carnival that involved a walking relay.

“It’s just something totally different than what I expected,” Martin said. “So we formed a team immediately. (Tal) was even in it even though he’d just started treatment (in February) and the relay was in April. That was our first year to have a team and it was just amazing. It was just really different than what I thought.”

Martin is hopeful that this year will be amazing as well. With the opportunity to have an event outside with fresh air in a park where pandemic risks can be mitigated, she hopes to see hundreds of people show up like they do for the Katy Rice Festival and enjoy a sense of community while feeling empowered in the fight against cancer.

“Every single person that I know has been touched by cancer in some way, shape or form,” Martin said. If it’s not actually having lost a family member, or coworker or neighbor – someone was diagnosed and survived. So, it’s really the one thing that’s touched everybody. (Relay for Life Katy) is just a really cool experience. I just can’t say enough about it.”

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