The Relay For Life concept involves a team of runners/walkers participating in a relay that lasts for 12 hours. Teams are made up of at least 10 people, with each individual team member undertaking to raise a minimum of $100 in pledges (with a $10 registration fee per person).
Funds can be raised individually or as a team through a variety of fund raising strategies such as bake sales, special events, car washes, etc.
Relay For Life is a celebration that includes a cancer survivors’ victory lap, a candle lighting (luminary) ceremony, incentive prizes, opening and closing ceremonies, food, cancer education, team photos and entertainment.
On Relay night, participants pitch tents decorated in their particular theme, which will serve as team headquarters. Participants can run, walk or stroll around the track. Cancer survivors, young and old, are introduced during the opening ceremony and are invited to begin the Relay by walking the Survivors’ Victory Lap around the track. Once this is completed, the Relay participants join in. Each team has a representative on the track at all times (1/2 hour shifts are common).
After dark, a Luminary ceremony is held. Participants and friends in remembrance of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and to honour those who have survived, light candles, which have been placed around the track. Each candle will have been placed in a paper bag with the name of the individual being remembered or honoured written on it. The candles remain lit through the night.
Participants not on the track are able to enjoy a variety of entertainment (music, dancing, games) or are free to experience the joy of quiet camaraderie. Some might even sleep!
At the closing ceremonies, special prizes are awarded in categories such as top individual fundraiser, top team fundraiser and best decorated tent. But everyone goes home a winner for having participated in such a giving event!
Cancer does not stop for nighttime.
Relay For Life starts at dusk and ends at the next day’s morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical effects, emotions, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.
The Relay begins when the sun is setting. This symbolizes the time that the person has been diagnosed as having cancer. The day is getting darker and this represents the cancer patient’s state of mind as they feel that their life is coming to an end. As the evening goes on it gets colder and darker, just as the emotions of the cancer patient do. Around 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. represents the time when the cancer patients start treatments. They become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up. As a participant, you have been walking and feel much the same way. You are tired, want to sleep, maybe even want to go home, but you cannot. You cannot stop or give up, just as the cancer patient cannot stop or give up. Around 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. symbolizes the coming of the end of treatment for the cancer patient. Once again they are tired, but they know they will make it. The sun rising represents the end of treatment for the cancer patient. They see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that life will go on. The morning light brings on a new day full of life and excitement for new beginnings for the cancer patient.
As a participant, you will feel the brightness of the morning and know that the end of the Relay is close at hand. When you leave the Relay, think of the cancer patient leaving their last treatment. Just as you are exhausted and weak, so is that person after treatment. But there is hope in the new day! The money raised at Relay will support patient services, lifesaving research, prevention education, and advocacy efforts…and that is why we Relay!
REMEMBER: There is no finish line until we find a cure.