Frequently asked questions

Thank you for your interest in Relay For Life! We've tried to answer any questions you may have, but if we've missed something, please contact us so we can help you.

What is Relay For Life?

The Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life brings together communities, united by the same goal of creating a world where no Canadian fears cancer. These events are also an opportunity to celebrate those who live and have lived in the face of cancer and those moving past cancer.

Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. On and off the track there is always something to do at Relay For Life. Those taking a break from walking can check out the entertainment and activities. Whether, you are cheering on survivors, walking the track or joining in exciting trackside activities, Relay For Life is an unforgettable event!

Relay is a global movement to end cancer which is active in 29 countries and 6,000 communities worldwide, whereby participants commit to raising funds for work against all types of cancer.

Why should I participate?

At the Canadian Cancer Society, we know that cancer changes people and that 1 in 2 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. But a cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to define a person. Our goal is to improve the cancer experience by helping people live longer and enhancing their quality of life. We believe that life is bigger than cancer.

Many of us have been directly affected by cancer and share a strong bond with others who experience the pain of this disease.

Relay For Life brings together communities, united by the same goal of creating a world where no Canadian fears cancer. These events are also an opportunity to celebrate those who live and have lived in the face of cancer and those moving past cancer.

Where does the money donated or raised go to?

Funds raised through our Relay For Life events are changing lives for the better by supporting ground-breaking research into more than 100 types of cancer, programs and services that help people with cancer and their families, and advocacy to governments on important cancer-related issues. Learn more about the impact funds raised through Relay For Life are making.

Do I have to be in shape or athletic to participate in Relay For Life?

No, Relay For Life events are non-competitive events, open to people of all ability levels. People take turns walking around a track or designated path. You are welcome to take a break from walking at any time and can check out the event’s entertainment and activities.

What are the different participation types?

There are 4 ways you can register to participate in Relay For Life:

  1. Start a team and become a team captain. Team captains are an important part of Relay success. Build your own team and work together to reach your goals. A team of 10 members can have 10 times the impact!

  2. Join a team that already exists. From fundraising to event day, share your Relay experience with a team, working together to meet your goals and celebrate success!

  3. Participate as an individual. Register, set your goal, fundraise and make a difference at Relay! If you want, you'll be able to join or create a team later.

  4. Survivors who cannot stay for the entire event can join us as a Survivor Visitor and your registration fee will be waived, so that you can participate in the Survivors’ Victory Lap.

If you're starting a new team, you'll have to create a team name that isn't already taken. If you're joining an existing team, you'll need to know the name of the team you want to join.

How do I register for a Relay For Life event?

We can't wait to welcome you at Relay! To register:

  1. Search for your event location.
  2. Choose your participation type.
  3. Create an account or sign in with the one you already have.
  4. Follow the rest of the registration prompts.

If you're starting a new team, you'll have to create a team name that isn't already taken. If you're joining an existing team, you'll need to know the name of the team you want to join.

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, there is a $15 registration fee for our Relay For Life events. This fee helps to cover the cost of running our events, so that more of the money you raise and donate can be used to help create a world where no one fears cancer.

Do I have to fundraise in addition to paying the registration fee?

Yes, Relay For Life participants set a fundraising goal of at least $150. To help you reach this goal, here are a few fundraising tips. Funds raised through our Relay For Life events are changing lives for the better by supporting ground-breaking research into more than 100 types of cancer, programs and services that help people with cancer and their families, and advocacy to governments on important cancer-related issues. Learn more about the impact supporters like you are making.

I'm a survivor participating in Relay For Life Do I have to pay the registration fee and or do anything special at the event?

Yes, there is a $15 registration fee for Survivor Participants at our Relay For Life events. This fee helps to cover the cost of running our events, so that more of the money you raise and donate can be used to help create a world where no one fears cancer. Cancer survivors the heart and soul of Relay For Life. Those who live in the face of cancer and those moving past cancer are celebrated during the Survivors’ Victory Lap (first lap) at our events. Survivors provide hope and help those facing cancer see beyond their diagnosis because you are living proof that progress is being made against cancer.

When registering for Relay For Life, if you are a cancer survivor, please indicate so in the “Choose your participation type” field.

Do I get a tax receipt for my donation?

Yes, charitable tax receipts will be issued for any donations made through relayforlife.ca.

For offline donations charitable receipts for donations of $20 or more will be issued. If you would like a receipt for a donation of less than $20, please contact our Donor Care team.


What are luminaries?

Luminaries are candles that have been placed in special bags - they look like beautiful lanterns when they're lit. Each luminary is dedicated by someone like you and carries the name of a cancer survivor or a loved one lost to cancer, along with a message of inspiration.

At each Relay For Life event, the luminaries are lit during a moving ceremony. Buy a luminary now, and you'll provide light and inspiration for the participants as they walk around the track.

How are loved ones lost to cancer honoured at Relay For Life?

At Relay For Life we remember those who lived in the face of cancer during the emotionally stirring Luminary Ceremony through which luminaries (paper bag lanterns with candles) dedicated to loved ones are lit. Luminaries line our event tracks providing light and inspiration for participants.

Where can I buy a Luminary? Will I get a charitable tax receipt for purchasing one?

A luminary can be purchased online or on event day. As per Canada Revenue Agency guidelines, the purchase of goods or services (such as a Luminary) from a charity is a commercial transaction, not a gift, and is therefore not eligible for a tax receipt.

What happens if rains or snows on Relay For Life event day?

The show must go on! Remember to check your local weather forecast on the day of your event and pack appropriate clothing or protective gear.


I have other questions about Relay For Life? Who can answer my questions?

Thank you for your interest in Relay For Life! Our Donor Care team can answer your questions. Please contact them via email or by calling 1-888-939-3333.