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Relay for Life

Getting Involved in the Relay for Life Cancer Fundraiser


Updated June 10, 2014

Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society sponsored event that raises money and awareness for cancer. It is 24-hour event that is held in cities and small towns worldwide. Teams of participants camp overnight at local athletic tracks, taking turns running or walking laps. The theme of 24 hours, non-stop participation is to recognize that when someone has cancer, it does not stop -- the cancer is present 24 hours a day and doesn't sleep.

How Do I Participate in Relay for Life?

First, you must find a local event that you would like to participate in. You can join a team that is already established or you can create your own. Each participant must pay a $10 registration fee either online or through the local American Cancer Society chapter.

Each team is led by a team captain, who serves as a manager for the team. He or she recruits team members and facilitates fundraisers for the event. You or someone on the team can be designated as the team captain -- it is not a representative of the American Cancer Society.

How Much Does It Cost to Participate in Relay for Life?

Unlike many other nationally recognized cancer fundraisers, the cost to participate is minimal. The American Cancer Society asks that each participant make a goal to raise at least $100, but it is not required. You can participate in the event for a $10 registration fee if you cannot raise any funds.

Where and When is Relay for Life Held?

Relay for Life is an international event that takes place in many different locations on various dates. Most events occur in the summer months, but can take place year round. Most events are held at colleges, high schools, fairgrounds, and also on military installations. Find a Relay for Life Event in your area.

What Makes Relay for Life Different Than Other Cancer Walks?

All of the cancer walks/runs are excellent ways to raise money and awareness about cancer. Relay for Life embraces all types of cancer, not just one single type. Proceeds from the thousands of Relay for Life Events help further cancer research and other ACS sponsored programs.

It is also a great fundraiser for those who cannot walk or run several miles. In Relay for Life, it is only required that one person from each team be on the track at all times. This allows for breaks for team members. People who rely on wheelchairs are also welcome to "walk" laps in most events. It is recommended that you be able to walk for 30 minutes at a time. You can see that Relay for Life is a very inclusive fundraiser that aims for not only financial donation, but also community involvement.

Luminaries are also a signature addition to Relay Life for Light events. Special bags that contain a white candle line the track, creating a lighted pathway for walkers. You can honor a loved one who has died of cancer by sponsoring a luminary at events. Luminary donations are usually as little $5. All events have a Luminary Ceremony, where the candles are lit and those who lost their battle to cancer are memorialized.
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