History Of The Relay

//History Of The Relay
History Of The Relay2018-12-18T17:17:31+00:00

“Since 1985 people have been relaying. Come and join us this year!”

How Relay Began

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 grueling twenty-four hours circulating a track in Tacoma, Washington, and raised over $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 Bermuda when Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre volunteer Ron Spencer III, lost his mother to cancer in 2008.  That loss propelled Ron on a nonstop path to bring Relay For Life to Bermuda.  In 2013 Bermuda became the 23rd Country approved as a Global Relay Partner and in May 2014, we celebrated our first Relay For Life event where over 2,500 members of our community came together and raised over $450,000! Since that first year, the event has raised over $2.5 million in total. 97% of the dollars raised goes towards funding Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s radiation therapy initiative. The other 3% support Global Relay For Life's cancer control initiatives worldwide. 

Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, passed away August 3, 2014, at the age of 71 from heart failure after battling stomach cancer.


Relay For Life is a global movement.

Watch this video to find out more about the Relay program around the world.