History of Relay

It all began in...

Relay For Life began in the USA in May 1985 when colorectal surgeon, Dr. Gordy Klatt, wanted to raise awareness of cancer and boost the income of his local cancer charity. He spent a gruelling twenty-four hours circulating a track in Tacoma, Washington, and raised over US$27,000, and showed that one person really can make a difference.

Since then, Relay For Life has become the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world. Celebrated by more than 4 million people in over 20 countries, this inspirational overnight event empowers and unites local communities to fight cancer.

 Relay For Life began in Australia in 1999 when the Victorian community of Murrumbeena raised over $75,000 for Cancer Council. Relays are now held in every Australian State and Territory, with more than 134,000 participants raising over $24 million each year. Every dollar raised goes towards funding Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention and support programs, many of which help people in your community every day.

Search for your nearest Relay and get involved today.


Relay For Life is a global movement. Watch this video to find out more about the Relay program around the world.