Relay For Life is the largest non-profit fundraising event in the world, and now takes place in more than 20 countries! It all started in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington USA, when a Surgeon, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a keen runner, decided he wanted to make a difference and walked around a track for 24hours. He raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. The following year he recruited a committee and 19 teams to join him on this unique overnight experience, and Relay For Life was born! test
Relay For Life is under licence here to Cancer Research UK and the events are led by volunteers.
Relay For Life in Aylesbury
Since Relay For Life Aylesbury launched in 2009 we have raised a staggering total of £553,014. The full breakdown by year is as follows:
2009 – £28,800
2010 – £33,043
2011 – £41,148
2012 – £58,080
2013 – £75,204
2014 – £103,166
2015 – £108,538
2016 – £105,035
We have teams consisting of family members, work colleagues and friends. They range in age from a few months to very ‘senior’ citizens, male and female. In 2016 we welcomed 501 Relayers, including more than 100 children and 50 cancer Survivors.
The team is ideally made up of between 8 and 15 people. They can be family, friends, work colleagues etc. Team members can be of any age, male and female – we have toddlers to grandparents take part. Cancer survivors (anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis, either past or present) can also register to take part, either as part of a team or as our special guests.
Each team member pays a registration fee. This covers the admin that CRUK provides and you get a team member t-shirt together with an information pack together and some fund-raising ideas. The fees are: Adults – £15, Senior citizens – £10. For children it is free. It is also free for cancer survivors to register.
No, it isn’t like a sponsored race, it is more like Children in Need. The teams do a variety of fund-raising activities during the months leading up to the Relay. The activities have included coffee mornings, cake sales, race night, salsa night, waxing sessions and raffles. A very effective way to raise money is online with a CRUK Relay For Life donation page which also allows us to claim Gift Aid. This can be set up when you register.
After the opening ceremony, our cancer survivors take the first lap, cheered on by their supporters and the teams. The teams then take their opening lap, wearing their team outfits and following behind their team banner. Each team decides on their theme – we have had pirates, daisies, wizards, footballers, cops & robbers and Where’s Wally to name but a few. Our cancer survivors are then treated to a delicious lunch while the team members settle into their walking. Some teams organise their rota so that 2 people walk together for an hour or two, others walk on their own for half an hour. The team captain works out what is best for their team. Each team has their own stall where they can offer games, raffles or some activity to raise some extra funds on the day. Previous themes have included carnival, beach party and celebration. Throughout the weekend there is plenty of entertainment to keep everyone going from singers and dancers to quizzes and displays. There are also special, themed laps such as decorated sun hats, flower power, glow in the dark and bad hair day (that is a Sunday morning one!). There are lots of opportunities to let your imagination run riot!
A significant part of Relay For Life is the Candle of Hope ceremony, which takes place as it begins to get dark. Here we take time to reflect on why we are taking part in this event with music, poems and readings. People decorate candle bags and dedicate them to loved ones that have been lost to cancer or to those who are surviving. A candle is put in the bag and they are all put round the track to provide the light through the night.
We then make our final push towards the finish on Sunday. We have a closing ceremony where awards are handed out for things such as best team outfit, best decorated stall. We also have a trophy for the top fund-raising team and a Spirit of Relay shield.
There will be a variety of hot food to buy, soft drinks and an ice cream stall. In the morning there are bacon rolls, cereal etc. on offer. We also hand out free hot drinks and chilled water throughout the weekend to team members and you can of course bring your own supplied to keep you going throughout the day - and night!