What is the American Cancer Society Relay For Life?

What is the American Cancer Society Relay For Life?
Philosophy - Why We Relay

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.

What is the American Cancer Society Relay For Life?
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. It offers everyone in a community an opportunity 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.
Teams of people from all walks of life have fun while raising much-needed funds to fight cancer, and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.  No matter who you are, there's a place for you at Relay. To participate, form a team, or dedicate a luminaria at your local American Cancer Society Relay For Life, please call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Why Relay?
One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer within their lifetime. The money raised at Relay saves lives by funding cutting-edge cancer research, early detection and prevention education, advocacy efforts, and life-affirming patient services. Your involvement makes this all possible.
Relay allows all individuals an opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have survived cancer and to remember those who have passed away from this disease. For the newly diagnosed, Relay is a healing experience  that offers a chance to meet others who have claimed victory over cancer. For the caregivers who give their time, love, and support to their friends and family who face cancer it provides hope and understanding. Come join your local survivor celebration today at Relay and participate in this life-changing event!
History of Relay - "Celebrating 20 Years of Hope"
One person can make a difference.  Nowhere is that more evident than with the story of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, which began in Tacoma, Washington, as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed - running marathons.
In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles.  Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 to fight cancer. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt's friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course.
While he circled the track those 24 hours, he thought about how others could take part.  He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Months later he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
In 1986, 19 teams took part in the first team relay event on the track at the colorful, historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000. An indescribable spirit prevailed at the track and in the tents that dotted the infield.
Impact of Relay
A Presence in Communities
Relay For Life is conducted not simply to raise funds, but to involve new communities, give the Society a local presence, and provide communities the opportunity to own the mission.  Because Relay provides grassroots access to the population, it is a critical means of achieving the Society's 2015 goals.
A Celebration of Cancer Survivorship
Relay is a moving celebration of cancer survivorship.  The event usually begins with a survivor lap in which cancer survivors take a victory lap around the track; and later a candlelight ceremony is held to honor cancer survivors and remember those who lost the battle against this disease. Recruiting as many survivors as possible adds to the impact of the event.
A Community Event
Relay For Life is a community event.  Event sites should be selected based on how communities identify themselves.  A town or small city may see itself as one community.  Larger cities are usually made up of several different communities and neighborhoods.  If people identify themselves as being part of a given community, the community qualifies as a Relay site.  For example, Relays are even happening on college and corporate campuses.
A Community Owned / Volunteer Driven Activity
As a community event, Relay fulfills a need for belonging that we all have. It also creates a sense of community by bringing people together in a moving and fun atmosphere, with sufficient time for cultivating relationships.  The event is volunteer driven, with Society staff coaching the volunteers.  There is a true partnership between volunteers and staff.
A Means of Unifying Communities
Cancer is indiscriminate and knows no boundaries.  As voluntary organizations in the United States face an increasingly diverse population and customer base, the way in which the American Cancer Society does business will need to shift.  Our ability to communicate appropriately and utilize partners in our efforts will facilitate our growth in reaching diverse communities, and ultimately in reaching the 2015 goals of the Society.  Inclusion is imperative.