Campus FAQ's: Relay Myths

Is your favorite part of Relay For Life is asking people to Relay with your event and hearing a whole bunch of excuses that they can’t participate?

It's not?

Then your actual favorite part must be having to explain and re-explain and tell the same stories over and over again in response to the same old “Relay myths.” 

Not that either?

I agree with you. My actual favorite part about Relay is seeing so many people all gathered together for one reason: to finish the fight against cancer – and more importantly, knowing that one day we will be successful and eradicate cancer once and for all. That’s why we need everyone to Relay with us – and here are some ideas on how to make your Relay For Life event accessible to everyone.

Some of the most common “Relay myths” that are heard at the Relay For Life of the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) and Rockhurst University are common at campus and community Relay events everywhere. 

1)    “I’ve heard you have to put in like 3000 hours per week and I’m taking so many credit hours and I have a family and have to study and, and, and…”
2)    “I get what you’re trying to do, but Relay doesn’t really apply to me. I haven’t had cancer.”

At the Relay For Life of UMKC/Rockhurst, the first “Relay myth” is overcome by making it possible to be involved in the event with any schedule or desired involvement. Participants can walk in on Relay night with their registration and any donations they have or they can be involved from the very first committee meeting and develop a detailed plan for the event – and anywhere in between.  Even while encouraging participants to get more involved, the event leadership is honest and up front about the time commitments at any recruiting events. 

The second “Relay myth” is easier to dispel. CANCER SUCKS – and we all know it. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, so at some point in their lives, everyone will be impacted by cancer in some way. Bringing the mission to possible participants or committee members through survivor stories, as well as other videos about the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) mission, are ways that the Relay For Life of UMKC/Rockhurst bridges the gap between the organization and the real survivors that are helped by ACS.

Changing the information that people have about Relay is a great way to get more people involved and in a position at Relay that fits them best. Getting people to Relay is sometimes a whole different fight for all types of events: big schools and small schools - a school with a brand new Relay or one that’s had Relay for years – recruiting challenges are real and can be a big headache when planning your Relay. 

The Relay For Life of UMKC/Rockhurst has several big recruitment campaigns, all revolving around person-to-person contact. This Relay focuses these campaigns around friends of people already involved. The committee brainstorms a list of the other campus organizations that the committee have connections to…or the organizations that their friends are in…or the organizations that their friends-of-friends are a part of. Through this type of outreach, the current Relayer’s passion is shown to the possible-new-Relayers and makes Relay more personal than “just another campus organization.”

Blog by Tristen Caudle - West Region Campus Leadership Team