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«Table of Contents What is Relay For Life? How Relay Works: The Mission of the American Cancer Society: Vision 2015 – A Sense of Urgency: The ...»

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Table of Contents

What is Relay For Life?

How Relay Works:

The Mission of the American Cancer Society:

Vision 2015 – A Sense of Urgency:

The Mission of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life:

The Lifesaving Impact of Relay For Life:

Cancer In Our Community:

Where the Money Goes:

Getting Results:

Relay For Life National Event Standards:

Relay For Life Committee Expectations:

As a Relay For Life Committee Member:

Tools you should have in your RELAY TRUNK:

Luminaria Chair

Ceremony Purpose

Ceremony Structure

Duties and Responsibilities

Pre-Event Luminaria Duties


On-site Coordinator

Luminaria Task Checklist

Luminaria Tips

The Luminaria Ceremony

Organizing the Luminaria Ceremony

Conducting the Luminaria Ceremony

Tips for an Inspiring Ceremony

Sample Ceremony Script

Key Points to Convey During Your Luminaria Ceremony:

Song Suggestions

Luminaria Lighting and Layout

Luminaria Lighting Selections

Complementing Your Luminaria Ceremony

Memory Garden

The End..... is just the beginning!



What is Relay For Life?

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature event, taking place across the nation and in countries around the globe. In fact, it’s the largest annual not-for-profit fundraising event

in the world! It brings together 3.5 million people to:

Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. It is the strength of cancer survivors that inspires us to continue the fight.

Remember loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, those who have walked alongside those battling cancer can grieve and find healing.

Fight back against a disease that takes too much. We make a commitment to save a life by taking up the fight The event began in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington when Dr. Gordon Klatt walked for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay For Life events have raised $2.5 billion to support programs aimed at eliminating cancer and supporting those affected by the disease. California Division’s Relay For Life has made significant contributions to the fight against cancer since its inception. In 2007, the California Division had 303 Relays and raised $33.3 million for the fight against cancer. In 2008, Relay For Life will take place in 313 communities and will raise an estimated $36.5 million in California.

How Relay Works:

Friends, family, coworkers and neighbors come together to form a Relay team, which collects donations leading up to the event. On Relay Day, team members take turns walking around the track during the 24 hours of Relay, making sure that someone is on the track at all times.

Why 24 hours? We are asking you to give a day out of your life for those who may not have another. There are similarities between the Relay For Life and a cancer patient’s experience: It may get really hot during the day, and you may feel like quitting, but you keep on walking. It may get windy and cold at night – it might even rain. But you press on through the darkest hours knowing that the sun will come up and it will be a new day.

Each Relay For Life starts with the Survivors’ Lap, during which cancer survivors from the community walk the first lap around the track to celebrate their victories and thank their caregivers while others cheer them on. At dusk, luminaria bags are lit, and remain lit throughout the night to create a path of hope. They are decorated to remember those lost to cancer and again honor caretakers and those that have survived the disease. The luminaria ceremony is a time for reflection, grieving and hope. These two inspiring and reflective ceremonies are followed by the Fight Back Ceremony, in which attendees literally and figuratively take up a flag against cancer and pledge to fight back against the disease.


Relay For Life is also an opportunity to deliver life-saving prevention and detection messages to participants.

The Mission of the American Cancer Society:

Founded in 1913, the American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.

Vision 2015 – A Sense of Urgency:

The American Cancer Society is making tremendous progress in the fight against cancer, but there is still a long road ahead. Your involvement with the American Cancer Society is helping save lives and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. The Society has ambitious goals for the next ten years and we need your help. By the year 2015, the Society aims to: double the number of lives saved from cancer; reduce the incidence of cancer by 25 percent and improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families. Relay is a powerful vehicle communities can use to support the Society’s mission to fight back against cancer!

The Mission of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life:

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and that one day, cancer will be eliminated.

The Lifesaving Impact of Relay For Life:

Relay For Life is making a significant impact on the American Cancer Society’s ability to meet

our goal of eliminating cancer. Last year in California:

Thousands of volunteers took part in 303 Relay For Life events across the state.

Those volunteers recruited the more than 180,000 participants who heard the life saving messages of the American Cancer Society.

33,385 survivors were honored at Relay For Life activities.

Relay For Life raised more than $33.3 million dollars for the fight against cancer.

Cancer In Our Community:

Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or economic background:


One out of two men and one out of three women will be diagnosed with cancer.

In 2007, more than 1.4 million people nationwide will be newly diagnosed with cancer.

In 2007, more than 133 thousand people in California will be newly diagnosed with cancer.

There are approximately 10.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States.

Practicing good nutrition habits, not using tobacco products and being physically active can prevent two thirds of cancer deaths.

Where the Money Goes:

Funds raised by the American Cancer Society Relay For Life support the organization’s programs, which focus on four distinct areas: research, education, advocacy and service.

Research The American Cancer Society was involved in many of the major cancer research breakthroughs of the last 90 years, including identifying smoking as cause of lung cancer, mammography screening for breast cancer and the PSA test for prostate cancer screening.

Currently, the Society is recruiting a diverse group of approximately 500,000 adults from across the nation for its third Cancer Prevention Study (CPS-3). CPS-3 works to better understand the lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer and ultimately help eliminate the disease as a major health concern for future generations. Enrollment is only available at select Relay For Life events across the nation. In 2008, enrollment will be held at 19 Relay For Life sites in California.

The California Division of the American Cancer Society has invested $55 million in research in California. Nationwide, since 1946, the Society has funded nearly $3 billion in research. By investing about $130 million in research each year, the American Cancer Society dedicates more money to cancer research than any other private, not-for-profit, non-government organization in the United States. We have funded 42 researchers who later went on to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

Education Following American Cancer Society’s wellness and cancer-detection guidelines can save your life or the lives of people you love. The American Cancer Society provides materials and educational programs on early detection and prevention of cancer to a variety of high-impact constituents in the community, including employers, schools, churches, local government, hospitals and community service groups.


Advocacy We fight for life-saving policy to increase federal research funding, reduce tobacco use, promote early detection of cancers, improve access to care and support cancer patients. The American Cancer Society has advocated the passage of legislation that has had a positive impact on controlling cancer. For example, lung cancer rates in the California have declined over the past several years thanks to several tobacco control initiatives.

Service Patient and family support services such as Look Good… Feel Better, Reach to Recovery and Road to Recovery help people with cancer during and after treatment. Anyone, anywhere can access cancer information and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1.800.ACS.2345 or at www.cancer.org.

Getting Results:

American Cancer Society funded research, prevention and early detection programs are helping

more people survive cancer than ever before in history:

In 1946, one out of four cancer patients survived more than five years; today, two out of three patients are alive five years after diagnosis.

More than 75,000 patients and survivors in California received American Cancer Society information and services or attended survivor events.

Society Cancer Information specialists staffing the 24/7 toll free number answered more than 101,000 calls from across California seeking free support and information.

Almost 8,500 people in California received transportation assistance for treatment appointments, for a total of almost 290,000 rides.

Relay For Life National Event Standards:

–  –  –


Relay For Life Committee Expectations:

When you become a member of the Relay For Life committee, you become an American Cancer Society volunteer. You, along with your fellow committee members are producing an event that will positively impact the lives of people in your community. By helping raise cancer awareness and money, you and everyone involved in Relay For Life are fighting back against cancer. Relay For Life is a community-owned, volunteer-driven event. Your staff partner is your coach and your resource.

As a Relay For Life Committee Member:

Plan on attending all committee meetings.

Recruit help! As your event grows, you will need sub-committees.

Two-year terms are recommended. Plan for your transition by appointing a co-chair.

Assist other committee members when asked.

Attend Society trainings about your committee position (i.e., Relay U or Track Chats).

Recruit teams! This is the key to a successful Relay Complete a partnership agreement with event chair and subcommittee chairs.

Have a team of your own or be a team member.

Plan to be at the event to help set-up.

Plan to camp out and be at the event the entire 24 hours.

Plan to stay until the end and help clean up.

Get all the work done prior to the event so you can enjoy the event.

Attend the wrap-up meeting to brainstorm how to improve next year’s event.


Tools you should have in your RELAY TRUNK:

–  –  –

Luminaria Chair Ceremony Purpose The Luminaria Ceremony is a ceremony of remembrance and hope. It symbolizes a time to grieve for those we have lost, to reflect on our own cancer experience or that of those closest to us, and to find hope that tomorrow holds the promise of a cancer-free world.

Ceremony Structure The ceremony is structured to take participants on an emotional journey similar to that of the cancer experience. This is the “remember” component of Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. It is essential that the ceremony is quiet and reverent, and that it gradually builds so it ends on a note of inspiration and hope.

Duties and Responsibilities Recruit Luminaria Sub-committee volunteers and meet with them regularly Attend event committee meetings Attend Team Captain meetings Develop a plan to increase Luminaria income Develop a data entry plan Plan the placement of Luminaria Plan the Luminaria Ceremony Obtain Luminaria supplies Staff Luminaria area until ceremony ends Pick up Luminaria after event ends Recognize and thank Luminaria volunteers and in-kind donors Being organized will maximize the impact of the ceremony and simplify the set-up process. As you recruit a Luminaria Sub-committee to assist you, consider dividing tasks into the areas of supplies, on-site coordinator, and the ceremony.


Pre-Event Luminaria Duties To truly optimize the Luminaria element of a Relay For Life event, just as with all other positions of a Relay For Life committee the Luminaria Chair should start early. Luminaria can be sold from the first committee/Rally/Team Captain meeting all the way to the moments before

the Luminaria Ceremony. Here are a few hints:

Work with your Event Chair to represent the Luminaria Committee at your community Kickoff and/or Rally. Have a few bags decorated and placed on the stage to be used as an example for those unfamiliar with the symbolism of a Luminaria. Sell bags at these events in order to get a ‘head start’ on sales.

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