Today, 10 years later, Father Ryan’s students have raised a cumulative $1.2 million for the American Cancer Society, created the largest student-led Relay For Life, per capita, in the nation, and attracted more than 1,000 people from throughout the city to their campus last October for Relay For Life 2019.
“Passionate, dedicated youth like you are changing the course of this disease. You are our greatest hope for fighting cancer,” said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society, presenting the award in a special ceremony January 14 at the Nashville high school.
Their success and the unique activities they have developed for Relay For Life earned Father Ryan the inaugural Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Award from the national office of the American Cancer Society (ACS). The new nomination-based award is given in memory of Pat Flynn, known as the “Mother of Relay” who inspired Relay participants around the world. This award honors an event or individual that embodies the same spirit of Relay as Pat Flynn.
Father Ryan’s Relay For Life was a regional nominee from among 441 Relays in the North Central region and 2,200 nationwide last year. Relay For Life was founded by Dr. Gordy Klatt in Tacoma, Washington, in 1985. Relay For Life events around the world have raised nearly $6.5 billion to help the American Cancer Society attack cancer.
In making the announcement, American Cancer Society Regional Vice President of Community Development Sarah Wells saluted Father Ryan, saying, “Pat Flynn would be proud that the first award in her name is being presented to this school. There are outstanding Relays throughout the country that were nominated for this award. From its very inception, Father Ryan’s Relay For Life has been distinctive, both in how it is run and in how much enthusiasm and spirit it creates. They are an outstanding example of Relay’s mission, and we are honored to present them this award.”