Get Inspired

Here's how you can get involved in Relay For Life

Relay For Life is one of the largest fundraising events in the entire world. It unites different communities across the globe in the shared goal that one day, no one will ever have to hear the words "You have cancer."

You're never too young to make a difference, and no amount is too small in the fight to end cancer. Several high schools, colleges and even middle schools across the country have their own Relay For Life events every year, raising money to support the efforts of the American Cancer Society. It's easy to get involved and join the cause!

What is Relay?

Participants in Relay For Life celebrate cancer survivors and honor loved ones they have lost to the disease. The event is a great way to raise money for the American Cancer Society's efforts to research cancer and provide treatment for patients. There are many different forms of Relays, but most usually involve walking laps at some point or throughout, whether the event is on an outdoor track or in a school gymnasium.

One important part of the Relay tradition is the Luminaria Ceremony, which is specifically for remembering those who have died from cancer and honoring those who have survived. Participants usually decorate Luminaria bags and dedicate them to loved ones. There are often speeches, songs and slideshows, and then participants take a silent lap to pay their respects. 

Starting your own event


If your school doesn't already have Relay For Life, find out how many students are needed to start an organization at your school. Ask a teacher to be your group moderator and get together a group of friends who are interested in being involved. You can branch outside of your inner circle—reach out to your lab partner, volleyball teammate and choir friend! 

Once your group is formed, have club meetings throughout the school year to plan your big event and determine the best ways to fundraise. Create a page for your school on the Relay For Life website and set a fundraising goal. Students can register for your event and create teams to join. You can try to form more teams by having clubs or even entire homerooms sign up—who doesn't love a little friendly competitive spirit? Encourage participants to raise money by posting their donation page link on social media (Instagramming for a good cause!). You can ask your parents to help spread the word, too! 

Activity ideas 

There's typically wayyy more than just walking during the big event. First, decide how long you want your event to be. If it's during the weekend, it can last anywhere from 3-12 hours (!!!). You can schedule different activities to happen throughout the Relay to keep participants engaged. Asking clubs at your school like the dance team or a cappella group to perform at different times will keep spirits high.

You can also come up with different activities to host in an effort to raise more money. Set up a photobooth station where people can pay to take pics with friends. Do you love making friendship bracelets? Sell your homemade bling, or have materials available so anyone can donate money to make as many as they want. Are you obsessed with hair tinsel? Charge $2 each for sparkly hair that the whole school will be admiring for weeks. Whatever you decide to do, every dollar you raise will go towards an amazing cause. 

What is a cause or movement that means a lot to you? Let us know on Twitter @girlslifemag

Slider image: @relayforlife
Additional photos by Natalie Misyak
All GIFs via Giphy


by Natalie Misyak | 5/9/2023