What is Relay For Life?
“Relay For Life” is the name of the “signature” fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. It is an all-night fund-raiser held to remember that “cancer never sleeps,” and also to keep in mind those with cancer who suffer many sleepless nights. Like a relay race where racers pass a baton, teams of participants always have at least one member walking a track all night long, carrying the team’s baton, while others support the cause through food, game and other purchases.
The CYO Relay For Life was started in 1999 when CYO Directors and Youth Ministers wanted to have a “big church” event where the members of their youth groups could come together, socialize, have fun and build community. Since then our Relay has donated over $160,000 to the ACS.
What Happens at Relay For Life?
The CYO Relay For Life occurs from 8:00pm until 6:00am, with set-up preparations beginning at 6:00pm the day of the event. Relay is an all-night social and school fair-style event for CYO members. We outline our walking ‘track’ which is surrounded by the “campsites” of each CYO, their base of operation where each group will set up a tent or booth for selling food, providing services (a jail, dunking booth, face painting) or offering some kind of game.
The event has an overall theme. CYOs will decorate their campsites and their batons in a way that reflects that theme. The decorated batons are called “spirit sticks‟ and are usually decorated to reflect the spirit and enthusiasm of the group.
Relay as a Celebration
Our Relay is also a celebration of people who have survived their battle with cancer, as well as a Memorial to those who have not. Cancer Survivors are invited to attend, to enjoy a catered reception, and to open the event for us by taking the first lap around the track. We also invite them to judge our decorating contests. Those who have lost their battle with cancer are memorialized with candle-lit “luminary” bags, white bags that are candle-lit and which line and light the entire walking track, and which are decorated with the names of those who lost their battle with cancer. The primary fund-raiser for most CYOs is selling “luminary bags” – having parishioners, etc. decorate a bag with the name of a loved one for a $5 donation to Relay.
There are other activities that attendees can participate in:
- Entertainment is provided all night by a DJ
- The “Relay Olympics” are competitive goofy games played throughout the night
- Theme times are announced where walkers can dress in theme to walk the track (examples: 50’s clothes, superhero items, beach wear)
- A “No Talent” Talent Show open to all
- Midnight Mass, which everyone attends.
- Contests for Best Decorated Campsite, Best Decorated Baton, Best Dessert, and Most Spirited Group or Person. Prizes and engraved trophies are awarded for each contest at the end of the night.
Who Can Attend Relay For Life?Relay For Life is open to any youth who are part of a recognized Catholic parish youth ministry program. Participants must be accompanied by adult chaperones (safe environment compliant) who are affiliated with the attending parish. Youth attendees must be covered by CYO insurance.
Click the link below for some more information on this awesome event!