Global Relay For Life celebrates survivors, remembers loved ones lost and mobilizes communities to take a stand against cancer.
What started with one person in the USA more than 30 years ago to raise money and awareness has become a true global movement against cancer, uniting people in 29 countries to do what no one country or organization can do alone: build a world free from cancer. Across the globe, Relay For Life fosters hope, healing and inspiration in more than 5,000 communities. (Map & Figure 1)
Six years as a survivor; 9 years as a caregiver to my wife, who had stomach cancer. I became involved in Relay For Life in 2005 as a volunteer at the event in Penang Malaysia. I have been a committee member and chair for the Luminaria for the last three years, along with my wife who is the Co-chair for survivors and Chair for team recruitment. It has been a very rewarding journey altogether.
I live in Sorø, Denmark and have met cancer from both sides. Ten years ago, I lost my sister to cancer. A few years later, I was diagnosed with the same type of cancer. That left me in an indefinable state of gratitude—had it not been for my sisters’ death, I probably would not have survived.
When I came across Relay For Life, it immediately made sense, simply because of the solidarity that lies in the 24-hour event. My approach to Relay For Life is that every single participant should go home feeling part of a larger whole. In Relay For Life, we celebrate life!
In 2005 I founded my team, the “Ridgley Rascals” from my small community of Ridgley, Tasmania. In 2012 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which gave me a whole different feel for the Relay. The compassion, friendship, support and love I received from so many people at the Relay brought me to tears many times. I was experiencing the Relay through different eyes. I finally really understood what it was all about, and how all those survivors and their families felt about the Relay. I love it with a passion.
ACCESS CREATES PROGRESS
The world’s largest fundraiser, Relay For Life attracted nearly 1.3 million participants in 2017.
The American Cancer Society’s Global Relay For Life program engages global organizations to empower communities and accelerate the fight for a world without cancer. Across the world, cancer organizations are utilizing Relay For Life as a platform to deliver on their mission. With the Danish Cancer Society, Relay extends their advocacy initiatives, engaging participants, survivors and volunteers in anti-tobacco and caregiver advocacy events. The Japan Cancer Society found Relay For Life has attracted more students to volunteer work and “their interests tend to shift to learning the value of life and having compassion for others and self.” The Cancer Society of New Zealand utilizes funds from the event to promote, deliver and facilitate more than 19,000 rides to treatment and nearly 62,000 nights of accommodation for patients.
This network of Relay For Life participants is bringing hope and help to millions across the globe. To learn more about the Relay For Life movement, please visit relayforlife.org/global or contact [email protected].
When the Cancer Association of South Africa was given the “gift” of Relay For Life 13 years ago, no one thought this event would unite our nation in the fight against cancer—and provide such a strong platform for advocating against a disease that is affecting 1 out of 4 South Africans. Relay For Life has created the opportunity for our cancer survivors to celebrate their lives and for all of us to stand as one— TOGETHER WE CAN!