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American Cancer Society Relay For Life

Updated on November 16, 2014

American Cancer Society Relay For Life: A Guide To Relay

The lens will teach you about the Relay For Life fundraiser from the American Cancer Society. Learn about the Relay philosophy and the Relay experience and you'll want to start a team of your own! Remember, Cancer Never Sleeps, and Neither Do Relayers!

My family has participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life for thirteen years and counting, and we've raised over $100,000 as a team. Read on to learn about how you can get involved with this fantastic event!

The Relay For Life Philosophy

Why We Relay: Cancer Never Sleeps

The Relay for Life is an annual event taking place overnight where teams of 10 people take turns walking a track - the overnight walk symbolizes the walks that many of us have done on hospital floors and cancer wards, and reminds us that "cancer never sleeps". ACS provides money for research, education, prevention and services for those with cancer and their families.

Celebration and Remembrance

What Happens At A Relay Event

Each Relay is organized by the local community, so each Relay is unique and different. However, most Relay events have some elements in common.

Decoration - Teams set up campsites with decorations around their team's theme. For example, "I Scream You Scream We All Scream For A Cure" might have an ice cream themed campsite. A team made up of bowling team buddies, "Strike Out Cancer" might have bowling themed decorations. Teams get as creative as they want, and there's often a decoration contest.

Survivor / Caregiver Ceremony - The Survivor and Caregiver Ceremony recognizes the people at Relay who have battled or are currently battling cancer. Their names are read, and they receive a small gift, such as a medal or pin recognizing their achievement. They are given a flower or other token to give to their caregiver. Then, survivors and caregivers have the honor of walking the first lap around the Relay track.

Luminaria Ceremony - The Luminaria Ceremony recognizes those who have been lost to cancer, as well as those who are survivors and fighters. Family and friends can purchase luminaria with the name of their loved on printed on them. The Luminaria Ceremony happens just after the sun goes down and it is dark. There is a ceremonial lighting of the luminaria candles by family and friends, and the names of those remembered are read aloud.

Games, Music and More - Relay events are fun for the whole family! Local communities may plan their own unique activities, but there is usually a DJ with music playing, games for the kids, and snacks and drinks. Karaoke, face painting, dunk tanks and bouncy castles are common activities at Relay.

Sunrise Ceremony / Final Lap- In the morning, there is a sunrise ceremony and final lap from all of the participants. At the conclusion of the lap, the top team names are announced.

What is your favorite part of Relay For Life?

See results

Why I Relay by JenOfChicago

My Relay Story

My family started Relaying the year after my grandmother died of cancer. We didn't know much about Relay, but we had heard there was a cancer-fighting event in our hometown, so we went to the park the night it was being held and checked it out. It was such a fun, uplifting, hopeful event, and we decided that we would form a team and participate next year. Our first year, we didn't know what to expect, but we ended up being one of the top fundraising teams for our Relay! Since then, we've participated in the Relay For Life of Norridge, IL for thirteen years, and raised over $100,000 as a team. If you would like to donate to my team this year, please visit

my personal fundraising page.

Fundraising Ideas For Your Relay For Life Team - Raise the money!

Check out these page for ideas on how to raise money for your Relay For Life Team.

Relay For Life Team Themes

What will your team's theme be?

Make your theme fun, personal, and significant to your team! Here are some ideas for American Cancer Society Relay For Life themes for your team.

School and University Themes - Fighting Irish Fight Cancer, Wisconsin Warriors War Against Cancer

Holiday Themes - Christmas In July, Halloween Spooks Cancer, Winter Wonderland

Hobby Themes - Knitting For A Cure, Clowning Against Cancer, Poker Players For A Cure

Sports Themes - Bat Away Cancer, Bowl For A Cure, Touchdown For Cancer-Fighters

Food Themes - Ice Scream For A Cure, Serving Up A Cure, Cookies For Cancer Research

Work and Professional Themes - Manicurists For A Cure, Salon Cuts Against Cancer, Fighterfighters Fight Cancer

Entertainment Themes - Rock Against Cancer, Cancer-fighting Superheroes, Dance For A Cure, Luau For A Cure, Pirates Fight Cancer

Wholesale Luau Party Supplies in a Box Lot -Table Skirt, Leis, Tattoos, Straws, Decorations & More!)
Wholesale Luau Party Supplies in a Box Lot -Table Skirt, Leis, Tattoos, Straws, Decorations & More!)

Hawaiian or Luar themed cancer fighting team? You'll need these Luau Party supplies to bring some island spirit to your team!

Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Centerpiece
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Centerpiece

Shiver me timbers, is that a pirate themed Relay team I see?


Books About Cancer Survival on Amazon

© 2008 JenOfChicago LM

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    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Wishing you a year of many new blessings starting with this one! Happy New Year!

    • GregoryMoore profile image

      Gregory Moore 5 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Can you just imagine a world without this disease? I don't think there is a single person that hasn't lost someone due to cancer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great information. I must say that my mom is a cancer survival. I am very proud of her. Thank you for sharing this info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      "Cancer Never Sleeps, and Neither Do Relayers!", returning with a Squid angel blessing.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I have a friend who participates in these events, and it sounds like something I'd like to do as well. I am doing a climb for cancer event next weekend on one of our local mountains. *Blessed by an angel on the Back to School Bus Tour*

    • profile image

      LensSeller 7 years ago

      A superb lens Jen and a wonderful addition to your Relay efforts, I'm sure your grandmother would be so proud of what you have done.

    • MissMinny profile image

      MissMinny 7 years ago

      Lots of great information. I really enjoyed the video. Supporting fund raising efforts to find a cure for cancer is so important - thank you for getting the word out.

      Miss Minny

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 7 years ago

      Excellent lens. Blessed by the Charities Squid Angel.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      Thank you for this!

    • profile image

      bsblmike2 7 years ago

      great job on this lens

    • profile image

      bsblmike2 7 years ago

      great job on this lens

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 7 years ago

      Am selecting this charity for my lens about Brenda Ladun. Am also giving this lens a blessing today.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      You are a star! Blessed by a fellow angel :-)

    • profile image

      glowchick 7 years ago

      Love your lens! I especially liked the themes, very cool :)

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      This is sa great lens with such an important and inspiring message. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust

    • profile image

      Shannon987 8 years ago

      Thanks for creating and sharing this interesting lens.

      Please check the volunteer in Africa lens â

    • profile image

      DeborahLynne 8 years ago

      Very nice lens, the relays are such a worthwhile endeavor.

    • profile image

      hexagon 8 years ago

      Lovely lens. 5*

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      @poptastic: Thanks arncyn!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 8 years ago from Quezon City

      What a fun and wonderful way to raise money for the ACS! *blessed by an angel*

    • profile image

      forestdreams 8 years ago

    • profile image

      wholeheartedly1 8 years ago

      This is a great lens that does a wonderful job of informing others about the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. Awesome job :)

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 8 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Lovely Lens. Lens rolling to my Breast Cancer Awareness Lens. (Now Supporting the "Home for Haiti Foundation")

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      @Leanne Chesser: Thanks Leanne!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      This is a wonderful lens about a wonderful fundraiser event! Totally Awesome and Angel Blessed! This lens will be featured on my Squid Angel Mouse Tracks lens.

    • profile image

      Leanne Chesser 8 years ago

      Great cause. Thanks for writing about it and for participating. Blessed!

    • GramaBarb profile image

      GramaBarb 8 years ago from Vancouver

      I support Cancer Charities too. Great cause.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      @Spook LM: Thanks Spook, and Merry Xmas to you too! You might find it funny that my family's Relay team has an Irish theme! :)

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      My eldest daughter runs every year in the one we have in Cork. Merry Xmas Jen. Blessed by an Angel.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 8 years ago

      [in reply to KimGiancaterino] Thanks Kim!!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      You've been blessed by a Squid Angel, and this lens was included in Another Day of One Hundred Squid Angel Blessings.

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      Way to go Jen! Congrats on this one and many more to come, I'm sure. =)

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      great lens. i added it to < ahref=" We Serve

    • Adrienne Jenkins profile image

      Adrienne Jenkins 8 years ago

      Great lens.

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      Thanks for reading my story! But, no I have never participated in the Relay For Life. Even if I did , I don't think I deserve a medal. I know there are many other people out there who have gone through a great deal more than I did in my battle with the Big C, which in itself is saying something because I went through a lot. I would just be happy if my story and advice could help or inspire even one person.

    • papawu profile image

      papawu 8 years ago

      What a fantastic lens. The only issue I have with this event is the fact that I have never been to one! I feel almost ashamed and left out since I am now a long time survivor of bone cancer. You did a marvelous job on this lens.Lensrolling to both of my cancer lenses.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Great lens for a great cause. Lensrolling to Free Advertising For Fundraising Events

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 8 years ago

      A very nice lens and a great cause !

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      Great lens and excellent information. I'm coming up on my third year out :o) 5* and a smile!

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 9 years ago

      WONDERFUL cause and lens sbject.



    • betterheath profile image

      betterheath 9 years ago

      great all around site lots of good info

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 9 years ago

      [in reply to lakeerieartists] Two Angel blessings in one day - I am truly grateful!

      Let me take this opportunity to remind everyone - it is now Relay season, so if you haven't already contacted the Relay in your town to join a team, don't delay! If you're not sure about joining this year, at least make plans to go visit the Relay and see what the experience is all about!

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 9 years ago

      [in reply to kiwisoutback] Thank you!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 9 years ago from Massachusetts

      Well done! A huge improvement from when I saw it last, Squid Angel blessed!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Excellent lens. Blessed by a Squidoo Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I seen that you stopped by my lensography and want get over to introduce myself properly. I joined your fan club too! - Great job on this lens! :)

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 9 years ago from USA

      Nice work on this lens! I'm Squidoo's Giant Squid Mentor and I wanted to be sure you were aware of our Giant Squid Lensmaster program. Giant Squids enjoy great perks.

      You can learn more about the program and get some wonderful lensmaking tips by visiting:

    • x3xsolxdierx3x lm profile image

      x3xsolxdierx3x lm 9 years ago

      Found your lens through your signature on SquidU.....great job with this one! :) 5 stars

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 9 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel today!

      ~ Colleen :o)

    • Sarunas profile image

      Sarunas 9 years ago

      Very informative lens.

      5 stars from. Well Done and Keep it up. : )

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      Lots of good ideas here for making money for a great cause. Many friends and family have died from this terrible disease ... time for the cure. Thank you. 5*s, favored and lensrolled.

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 9 years ago from California

      Thank you for putting this together. It is a great cause for a disease that affects everyone of us in some manner. 5 stars, favorite and I'm a FAN! Bear hugs, Frankster aka Bearmeister aka Cat-woman

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 9 years ago

      This is a great cause! Relay participants are truly giving people, we need more people like them in the world!

    • blakesdad lm profile image

      blakesdad lm 9 years ago

      Informative and useful. Five stars.

    • Chris1392 profile image

      Chris1392 9 years ago

      Very informative lens...5stars

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      What a great cause!!!! :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Your lens is very informative and inspiring...keep up the good work.

    • profile image

      XP 9 years ago

      Great lens about Relay For Life. *blessings*

    • profile image

      MarkHoroszowski 9 years ago

      Hey Jen!

      Thanks for the great lens!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 9 years ago

      The schools in our area help with the Relay for Life every year. It is very rewarding. As we get older, we know more and more people that have to deal with cancer.

      Great lens

    • Optimist1 LM profile image

      Optimist1 LM 9 years ago

      Useful lens Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    • hempnecklace profile image

      hempnecklace 9 years ago

      I created a cancer and cancer cure group.

      I wanted to invite you to join. You lense is most welcome.



    • profile image

      Bruceman 9 years ago

      Welcome to the Group

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 9 years ago

      Great lens ***** Thanks for joining the