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What Is Relay?

  • What is Relay Video imageOrganized, overnight community fundraising walk
  • Teams of people camp out around a track
  • Members of each team take turns walking around the track
  • Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie
  • Family-friendly environment for the entire community

Because it’s a team event, individual participants are not required to be there the entire time. But it's so much fun, you'll find it hard to leave!

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What Makes a Relay Event Special?

Many moments create the unique Relay experience. Event details vary by location, but all events have key moments in common:

 

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Survivors Lap

During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants who line the track. Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers facing cancer.

Luminaria Ceremony

The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who’ve been affected by cancer. Learn More »

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Fight Back Ceremony

This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.

History of Relay For Life

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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.

 

Gordy's Story »

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