Relay For Life
Relay For Life is an inspirational fun event for everyone of all ages and fitness levels, during which we celebrate with survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer and come together as a community to fight back against cancer.
Get involved! Sign up for a Relay For Life near you:
What is Relay For Life?
Relay For Life is a fun, inspiring event, where teams of people take turns walking around a track. Each team is asked to have one member on the track at all times, signifying that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, neither do we.
Each team sets up a campsite (some teams theme their campsites) at the event. There is a carnival-like atmosphere throughout with entertainment and a range of games and activities for teams to join in. Teams bring in their own food, there is a meal provided. Food vendors are on-site with hot and cold food and drinks.
How fit do I have to be to take part?
Relay For Life is not a race and suitable for all fitness levels. You can walk or run at your own speed and do as many or as few laps as you like. It’s all about celebrating life for those who have been through a cancer journey, and remembering loved ones lost to cancer.
What happens during the event?
- Opening ceremony
- Survivor and Caregiver lap
- Teams take to the track to walk
- When not walking, participants can join in games, activities and enjoy the entertainment
- After sunset, there is a candlelight ceremony to celebrate cancer survivors, and to show those affected by cancer that they are not alone
- Closing Ceremony
Where does the fundraised money go?
Cancer Society doesn’t receive any direct government funding, so we rely on the support and generosity of the community. The money raised through Relay For Life stays in the region and helps people in our community through the Cancer Society’s support services, health promotion programmes and cancer research.
How did Relay For Life start?
The concept of Relay For Life began in 1985, when Dr Gordon Klatt, a surgeon and American Cancer Society volunteer, ran and walked 81 miles on a local track for 24 hours. He raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. From his experience, the Relay For Life event evolved. Today, Relay is the world's largest cancer fundraising event and is held in 29 countries around the world. It is also the American Cancer Society's signature programme for advocacy and cancer awareness. The inaugural New Zealand event was held in Manawatu in 2001. In 2019, 15 communities from Whangarei to Invercargill will take up the challenge of Relay For Life.