Relay For Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordon Klatt, a Tacoma,
Washington surgeon and an
American Cancer Society volunteer, ran
and walked for 24 hours to raise money for the ACS.
He traveled a total of 81 miles and raised $27,000 for the fight against
The following year, 220 supporters on 19 teams joined Dr, Klatt in this
overnight event and the
American Cancer Society Relay For Life was born.
The American Cancer Society adopted Relay For Life as their
Signature Event in 1994. In the
last 25 years, the Relay for Life
has spread to over 5,000 communities in the United States.
Nearly 3.5 million participants raised $386 million to fund
the American Cancer Society's
mission in 2009.
Relay For Life is conducted not simply to raise funds, but to involve
new communities, give the
Society a local presence, and provide communities the opportunity to own
The money raised at Relay For Life goes to support every aspect of the
Society's fight against cancer. Relay donations are not dedicated to one
specific type of cancer
but go toward the Society’s research programs, local patient services,
education and advocacy