Cancer Walk Relay for Life

Updated April 9, 2018

The American Cancer Society's (ACS) Relay for Life is a great way to celebrate survival and a fun way to raise money for ongoing research. In this signature fundraising event, teams take turns walking or running for six to 24 hours.

How Do You Participate?

If you want to get involved with the fight against cancer, Relay for Life promises to be an exciting and exhilarating experience. The event itself boasts some 3.5 million participants so there is always a way to get involved.

Find a Local Event

Relay for Life events are hosted all around the world. Start by finding a local Relay for Life. All you have to do is enter your zip code and you'll see every scheduled relay in your general area. Once you've found an event nearby, click on the event name and it will take you to that event's website where you can choose how to participate. Each event typically features a hopeful slogan participants and donors can promote.

Register Your Team

Gather friends, family members, and co-workers to create a team who will fundraise and walk together. Participants are asked to put forth a $10 registration fee. While everyone is encouraged to set a personal goal of raising $100, there is no minimum amount that must be raised in order to participate. The overarching goal of the event is to bring communities together and promote cancer awareness.

Designate a Team Captain and use the Team Captain info page to help you get started. Teams often choose a fun theme for their outfits and tent area. If you don't want to create a new theme, you can always buy Relay for Life merchandise to show your enthusiasm and support.


You can donate money to the American Cancer Society anytime or to a specific relay individual, team, or event. Your donations fund research and education as well as promote quality medical care for those with cancer. If you really want to spread the spirit of hope, sponsor someone who is running the relay so your donation motivates others to give too. After you choose a local event, you'll find a "donate" button specific to that relay.

Cancer Survivors and Caregivers

Anyone who has survived cancer or serves as a caregiver for a survivor is welcome to join a local Relay for Life event in designated special laps. The first lap of the relay is always a "survivor lap" and the second is a "caregiver lap" where these individuals are recognized. As the sun goes down, the ACS uses luminaria to light the runners' ways. You can sponsor a luminaria in memory of someone you love who died from cancer. These luminaria are the centerpiece of the ceremony of hope and friends and families are invited to gather around during a moment of silence for those who lost their battle to cancer.


It takes quite a bit of manpower to pull off such a big event. Anyone can volunteer to help make sure your local event goes off without a hitch. Help out at a local relay as part of the Leadership Team or simply as a helping hand on race day.

Contact Relay for Life

For more information contact Relay for Life by phone at 1.800.227.2345 or visit their website to find answers or live chat with a representative.

The Fight Back Ceremony

After the relay is the important fight back ceremony that follows the mantra: Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. The goal of the 25th hour celebration is to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who fought bravely, and educate people to fight back. The ACS feels that if they can deepen the emotional connection people make at the relay, they can help educate and encourage better lifestyle choices.

History of the Relay

Having a desire to raise funds for his own American Cancer Society Office and support his own patients, Dr. Gordy Klatt decided to personally raise money by running a 24 hour marathon and collecting donations from sponsors. In his first year he raised $25,000, but it was the inspiration the event provided that would prove to be the most success.

From there, the cancer walk, Relay for Life, has grown into a major event joining together thousands of communities. The Relay for Life leaders encourage communities of people to join together to fight cancer and consequently there are Relay for Life events happening on campuses, in small towns, in neighborhoods of larger cities and even in cyberspace!

Walking for a Cure

Cancer survivors and their supporters have a vested interest in funding research that helps find treatments and cures for cancer. The Relay for Life event provides an opportunity to be part of this amazing community of people and raise money that provides hope for everyone's futures.

Cancer Walk Relay for Life