American Cancer Society
Relay For Life
A Team Event to Fight Cancer
There is no finish line until we find a cure!
American Cancer Society | Relay For Life
What is Relay?
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. It offers everyone in a community a chance to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Relays are an overnight event, up to 24 hours in length.
Because Relay For Life is a community gathering rather than an athletic event, anyone and everyone can participate. Teams form from businesses, clubs, families, friends, hospitals, churches, schools, and service organizations. Team members share a common purpose - to support the American Cancer Society's mission.
Relay For Life also raises funds. Teams solicit donations, have garage sales, hold car washes, and more. If you need more help or have any other questions about Relay For Life, contact your local ACS office or call 1-800-ACS-2345.
The power of Relay is that it allows a community to grieve for those lost to cancer and to celebrate the lives of those who have survived. For the newly diagnosed, Relay offers a chance to meet someone who has survived the same type of cancer. For the cancer patient in treatment, Relay provides an opportunity to share with others. For the long-term survivor, Relay brings a community's recognition of the struggle and closure to a trying time in life.
Caregivers also find hope in Relay For Life. These individuals give their time, love and support to friends, family, and neighbors who face cancer. At Relay, everyone understands the challenges and joys of being a caregiver. There is peace of mind knowing that together we can face the challenges ahead.
How Did Relay Begin?
In May 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon and avid runner, took the first step of his 24-hour walk/run around a track in Tacoma, Washington. He clocked 83 miles, raising $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society. The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Dr. Klatt in this overnight event, and the American Cancer Society Relay For Life was born.
As of 2003, Relay For Life had spread to 3,800 communities in the United States, and eight foreign countries, and it continues to grow. What began as one man's statement in the fight against cancer has led to the development of a worldwide event to put an end to cancer.