Relay For Life

Relay For Life
Indian Cancer Society holds the Relay For Life
in collaboration with American Cancer Society.

At Relay For Life events, communities come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has taken too many lives. The funds raised truly make a difference in the fight against cancer. Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and increase awareness through the Relay for Life movement.

Relay For Life teams take turns walking or running around a track or path at a school, park or ground. Events are from 3 hours to 12 hours long, and because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times. Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie in a family-friendly environment.

History of Relay For Life

Relay For Life began in the USA in May 1985 when colorectal surgeon, Dr Gordy Klatt, wanted to raise awareness about cancer and funds for his local cancer charity. He spent a grueling 24 hours circulating a track in Tacoma, Washington, and raised over $27,000, and showed that one person really can make a difference.


During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer, cheered on by the other participants. Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers facing cancer.


The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark, so we can remember those we have lost to cancer, honor those who have fought cancer, and support those whose fight continues. Candles are lit inside personalized bags and are placed around the track as glowing tributes to those who have been affected by cancer.

Fight Back

This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what we are willing to do for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for our community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.

What is Relay For life in schools?

  • Inspires the "spirit of giving" to those less fortunate in children
  • It brings Cancer education and community service in the classroom
  • Engages school students in the fight against cancer
  • Students have fun with entertainment and activities that reinforce the importance of a healthy diet, physical activity and not smoking
  • An excellent opportunity to showcase unique qualities about your school

Students as superheroes against cancer

The Relay For Life program provides students, teachers and administrators the opportunity to become superheroes in their own communities by celebrating people who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones lost, and fighting back against a disease that has taken too many lives.

The Relay For Life program also engages school students in the fight against cancer through fundraising activities that support cancer programs and services. It can be different at every school and is an excellent opportunity to showcase unique qualities about your school and community.

Student benefits and impact on the community

  • The Relay For Life program increases knowledge of healthy behaviors that will help students stay well and involves them in fun, physical activities.
  • The Relay For Life program helps create closer relationships among teachers, students and parents while boosting school morale.
  • The Relay For Life program teaches students the importance of community service and fosters team building.
  • The Relay For Life program brings your school together for a cause that touches everyone. By participating in the program, you will be supporting the Indian Cancer Society's lifesaving mission to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

How long is the Relay For Life program?

Your program should be whatever length is best for the administration, teachers and students at your school. Relay programs can last a week, a day, or just a few hours! Some schools choose to do a pep rally to kick off their relay activities and have a spirit week leading up to the actual event. The spirit week usually consists of classroom activities, fundraising and a focus on getting kids active.

What can you do?

Relay For Life events are flexible. The activities at your event should be a reflection of the interests of the students at your school. They can range from games and activities focusing on cancer education to performances from the school dance/drama club or band or athletic programs. Many relay events include walking laps around a track or playground. Others set up stations with activities on nutrition, physical activity and tobacco prevention. We will provide you with ideas!

Three main components of a Relay For Life program

Cancer education

Students will participate in classroom activities that focus on nutrition, physical activity and tobacco prevention. These activities can be done during the week leading up to the school's Relay For Life event, or even on the day of the event.


Students, teachers, parents and staff can raise funds for the Indian Cancer Society by doing various activities that students and teachers decide!

Physical activity

The Relay For Life program offers a lot of fun ways for students to get active.

Why do we fundraise?

Everyone's reason to become a superhero in the fight against cancer is as unique as their own personal story. Through the Relay For Life program, students, teachers, administrators and parents have a chance to come together and fight back against the disease.

No matter why you take part in a relay program, one thing is clear: every step of the way, you are helping save lives. With your help, we are not just fighting one type of cancer – we are fighting for every life threatened by every cancer. Each person who shares the relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones.

Fundraising is more than just raising money; it can help build and foster teamwork, and teach kids about giving back. The fundraising activities for relay can be simple, from asking for donations via email, or a little more advanced, such as organizing classroom competitions. It’s up to you to decide what will work best for you and your school.

Parent's corner

We all want to do everything we can to ensure our kids get a good start. Healthy habits learned early tend to stick through life. And these habits can help our kids reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Parents are role models for their children. So we encourage parents to participate in a big way in Relay For Life, by helping kids in organizing various activities and coming to the event to boost their morale.

Relay For Life at School

Oberoi School, Goregaon, Mumbai

Ecole Mondiale School, Juhu, Mumbai

RBK International Academy

"This year, we had students from every grade who put up different stalls to contribute to the event. Some put up arcade games and craft workshops which were a huge success. Others put up food and beverage stalls. At this year’s RFL we introduced a new concept. From past experience, we realized that many students get bored later in the night, so we decided to ask some students to put up midnight food stalls. Students of grade 10 organized music in the auditorium and everyone had a lot of fun dancing in the middle of the night. The RFL was a very big success, it went on smoothly and students were occupied all night. Football, Basketball and Cricket matches kept happening throughout the night. We also had students walking on the track at all times from 7.00 pm to 6.00 am the next morning."

"The Outreach Program, a part of RFL in partnership with Indian Cancer Society, was a cancer awareness campaign - a first for our school. Our audience was the housekeeping staff who speak marathi. Our challenge was to communicate to them about the dangers and consequences of consuming tobacco and alcohol in marathi/hindi. The aim of the program though was to also educate them about cancer, so that remained the focus throughout. We split our team into those who could speak hindi and marathi and aligned our information with what was provided to us by ICS."

Dhirubhai Ambani School

Relay For Life at Dhirubhai Ambani School was organised by grade 12 students on January 19. The opening ceremony started with a very inspiring speech by Mrs Jayasree Ramesh, a cancer survivor and the mother of a student at the school. After that, the relay started with the Survivors' Lap. Others joined the survivors on the tracks with occasional breaks for snacks, or to participate in other activities offered at the event. This included outdoor games like a ring toss, a quiz on cancer and a video game tournament. The relay was a continuous, ongoing part of the event, and a karaoke booth was set up for those who wished to sing to encourage those participating in the walk.

The event concluded with a workshop on making luminarias. After the luminarias were prepared, they were arranged in form of the word "HOPE" as a tribute to the undying hope for the future in the brave hearts of cancer patients and survivors.