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U.S. Navy Seabees are looking for donors to help make a success of what they say is the first Relay for Life cancer research fundraiser in Iraq.

The Navy’s version of engineers, Seabees deployed from Port Hueneme, Calif., are linking up with members of their battalion back home to raise funds. The Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser of the American Cancer Society and takes the form of a 24-hour walk or run, with various participants taking shifts to keep a continuous presence on a route.

Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27 in Balad “will be joining their counterparts in Port Hueneme to make it a battalion-wide event,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Majellan Quezon, in an e-mail to Stripes. The battalion hopes to have the event take place Oct. 8 on its bases near Balad.

“Seabees will gather and walk the 24 hour stretch in support of this generous program,” Quezon wrote.

People who wish to donate specifically to the Seabees’ fundraising effort can visit the American Cancer Society Web site.

“Relay For Life 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,” according to the ACS Web site.

The relay has its roots in a May 1985 fundraiser in which Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma, Wash., surgeon, decided to raise money for the Cancer Society by running for 24 hours straight around the track at the University of Puget Sound.

Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him, according to the ACS, raising $27,000. Similar relays began springing up in the following years.

The American Cancer Society says that in addition to the United States, relays are now operating or planned in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Venezuela.

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