Every Relay For Life event is made up of volunteers forming teams to spend 24-hours together around the track raising money to eradicate cancer. Teams can be made up of friends, families, co-workers, religious groups, classmates, and neighbours. Every team brings its own special energy to the event by hosting on-site fundraisers, creating campsites, and enjoying each other's company while educating the community about cancer prevention. The event gives each community the opportunity to create their own celebration, from Sydney, Australia to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. People gather with a common cause, to support their local cancer organization through Relay For Life
In South Africa, Relay For Life has helped unify communities in a post-apartheid world. Volunteers of many races and different backgrounds come together at Relay events to fight a common enemy: cancer.
Relay has demonstrated that despite natural disasters such as in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and in the United States, communities heal through coming together for a common purpose no matter what the circumstance.
Through Relay For Life, communities begin to understand that cancer touches everybody and everyone has a role in supporting each of these countries.
Relay For Life provides an opportunity for the average person to impact the future of cancer. In Relays around the world, cancer survivors are honoured through a special survivor celebration before each event.
Relay For Life gives a chance for those who have lost a loved one to remember their friends and family, in a safe environment, by participating in the overnight Luminaria ceremony.
At the conclusion of each Relay For Life, participants commit to continuing the fight back against cancer in their own way. Volunteers in South Africa recently urged their male participants to consider necessary prostate testing through the distribution of a take-home reminder kit at their event, while volunteers in the United Kingdom educated their participants on sun safety.
Relay For Life is the largest cancer fundraiser in the world, raising over $5 Billion USD. Countries around the world are feeling the impact of raising funds through Relay For Life. Luxembourg raised almost $300,000 in 2010, to support their cancer organization's mission, while the Canadian Cancer Society raised over $52,000,000 in their local communities. Relay For Life provides an opportunity to raise money within the context of community outreach. In Honduras and Guatemala, Relay For Life has become the one place where the community gathers to remember those lost to cancer, and despite the huge economic challenges, people find creative ways to raise money that supports their cancer organization in its life saving work.
In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, ultimately raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern cancer. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since those first steps, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising nearly $5 billion to fight cancer.
To learn more about how your country can become involved in Global Relay For Life, email Bob.Chapman@cancer.org.