What happens at a Relay For Life event?

Relay for Life is the biggest cancer fundraising initiative across the world. It sees communities across the globe coming together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer, and stand shoulder to shoulder with those facing cancer. Relay For Life is a celebration of solidarity and helps to raise awareness of the services provided by the Irish Cancer Society locally and nationally.

Relay For Life brings the whole community together to Celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, to Remember those lost to the disease, and to Fight Back by increasing our knowledge of cancer and by raising money to fund life-saving cancer research and free services for cancer patients and their loved ones. 

Relay has something to offer everyone, so please do join us. It is a free event and everyone is welcome.

What happens at Relay

Cancer never sleeps, so nor do our Relay teams. In this 24 hour event teams join together to walk through the day and night. Members of teams take it in turns to walk a designated distance or time, with someone from the team being on the move at all times in the 24 hour period.

When not walking, members of the teams, and their friends, families and colleagues socialise, enjoy live entertainment and take part in activities arranged by their committee.

There is also a Candle of Hope ceremony, where hundreds of candle bags that have been personalised with messages of hope and remembrance are lit during a moving ceremony involving music and speeches. Anyone can purchase a Candle of Hope bag for a small donation, see your local Relay Page to find out more

The Survivors’ Lap


We invite all of our Survivors who have lived or are living with cancer for a special lap. An emotional reminder that there is hope.

The Carers lap


We celebrate the unwavering selflessness of the people who look after loved ones affected by a cancer diagnosis with their own dedicated lap.

The Candle of Hope Ceremony

Taking place as the light goes down, hundreds of flickering candles light up the night in a moving tribute to those we have loved and lost to cancer. 

How can I get involved?

Bring Relay to your community

Unable to find a Relay in your area? Reach out and find out about bringing  a Relay in your area.

Visit your local Relay

Everyone is welcome to come along to their local Relay. Meet the teams taking part and enjoy games, food, music and more.

Become a Team Captain

Bring friends, family and colleagues together to create a team and take part in your local Relay.

Join as a survivor

Anyone who has ever lived or is living with cancer is welcome to join as a survivor and to invite someone that has supported them. Reach out to your local Relay to find out more.