Cancer Walk Relay for Life

Valorie Delp
Fundraising Ideas for Relay for Life
Fundraising Ideas for Relay for Life

A great way to celebrate life for those who have survived, and a fun way to raise money for ongoing research is the American Cancer Society's Cancer Walk Relay for Life.

What Is the Relay for Life?

Are you considering raising money through a cancer walk? Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's "signature" fundraising event. It is an all night even where teams of people take turns walking or running for a twenty four hours.

While the goal is to raise money for the American Cancer Society, they also hope for a spirit of hope to prevail for those who are fighting cancer and for those who have fought but lost.

How the Cancer Walk/Relay for Life Got Started

It only takes one person to make a difference and in this case, that one person was Dr. Gordy Klatt. Having a desire to raise funds for his own American Cancer Society Office and support his own patients, Dr. Klatt decided to personally raise money by running a twenty four hour marathon.

The first year in 1985, he spent twenty-four hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound. He ran or walked a grueling 83 miles and throughout the night friends and family supported him by donating $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. In his first year he raised $25,000 but it was the inspiration that the event provided that would prove to be the most success.

From there, the cancer walk Relay for Life has grown into a major event joining together thousands of communities. It should be noted that community is a keyword here as well. The Relay for Life folks encourage communities of people to join together to fight cancer and consequently there are Relay for Life events happening on campuses, in small towns, in neighborhoods of larger cities and even in cyberspace!

After the Relay: The Fight Back Ceremony

Almost as important as the 24 hour relay is the fight back ceremony, that follows the mantra: Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. The overarching goal of the 25th hour celebration is to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who fought bravely and lost their battle and help educate people to fight back. The ACS feels that if they can successfully deepen the emotional connection people make at the relay, they can successfully help educate and encourage better lifestyle choices.

How Do You Participate?

If you're wanting to do a cancer walk, Relay for Life promises to always be an exciting and exhilarating event. The event itself boasts some 3.5 million participants and so there is always a way to get involved.

Register Your Team

Have you or someone you love been touched by cancer? Pull together a team and participate in a local Relay for Life event. Participants are asked to put forth a $10 registration fee. While participants are encouraged to set a personal goal of raising $100, there is no minimum amount that must be raised in order to participate. The overarching goal of the event is to bring communities together and promote cancer awareness. Not sure you can organize people and be a team captain? Don't worry--the Relay for Life folks have a Team Captain info page to help you out.


You can always donate money to the American Cancer Society. Your donations go to fund research, and education, as well as promoting quality medical care for those with cancer. However, if you really want to spread the spirit of hope, why not sponsor someone who is running the relay? Your donation could spur them on and others to give more.

Are You a Cancer Survivor?

Anyone who has survived cancer, is welcome to join a local Relay for Life event in the survivors lap--the first lap that kicks off an activity. In addition, as the sun goes down, the ACS uses luminaria to light the runners' ways. These luminaria are the centerpiece of the ceremony of hope and friends and families are invited to gather around during a moment of silence for those who lost their battle to cancer. Just supporting those families in this way can be a powerful and moving experience.


As you might guess, it takes quite a bit of manpower to pull off such a big event. Why not volunteer to help make sure your local event goes off without a hitch. There are a variety of ways in which you can volunteer for your local event.

Contact Relay for Life

Should you need to contact the Relay for Life folks, you can call them at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit their website.

More About ACS Relay for Life

Check out these other LoveToKnow articles about the Relay for Life:

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Cancer Walk Relay for Life