University of Toledo CRUSHES Goal!

Event Leadership Team announces Gross Fundraising Total

Event Leadership Team announces Gross Fundraising Total

The National Campus Leadership Team recently spoke with the University of Toledo to learn more about their phenomenal success! UT hosted their Relay For Life event on November 16, 2018 with 1,626 participants who all came together to raise an astounding $57,621 - 15.2% over their net goal.

Here’s what we learned:

NCLT: How did you prepare for a successful year and event? Did you host any pre-event fundraisers, what kind of support did you provide to participants, did you rely on support from university administration? Basically what kind of prep work did you do?

UT: This year we asked all committee members to set goals for themselves. Then they wrote out tasks and deadlines needed to reach those goals and would earn points for all of the goals they met! This helped give them a set plan for the year, especially since most of our committee was new this year. Additionally, we held a summer retreat and held weekly meetings once the school year started which facilitated another helpful thing - communication between our Director Board and committee members. We also did quite a few pre-event fundraisers, including a 5K that we hosted with UT Rocketthon, sold hats and stickers designed by one of our committee members, and held percentage nights at Chipotle, Panera Bread, Panda Express, and Blaze Pizza. Something new this year was that we did not rely on the University for finances. In fact this was the first year that our event was not funded by a University budget. While in the past organizations that host events on campus would receive funding from the Student Activities Board to help support event expenses, this year it was decided that student organizations that host events for other organizations - like we do for the American Cancer Society - would not receive funding. Because of this we did not receive the money we normally did to cover the cost of the event venue, sound and stage equipment, and other miscellaneous expenses. Our committee went into this year knowing we wouldn’t have that additional money, so we pushed extra hard to fundraise more than usual to cover those costs. We did work with the University for logistics with support from staff in the Office of Student Involvement and the Student Rec Center.

NCLT: In all of your planning was there a favorite or most used resource?

UT: Like we mentioned earlier, communication was a large part of our success. Google Drive and GroupMe were super helpful! Every committee member had access to a Relay For Life Google Drive which made it easy to see what everyone was doing. We also had a GroupMe that included all committee members which made it easy to share last minute updates.

NCLT: At the actual event what kind of onsite fundraising or entertainment was available? How did you draw people in?

UT: We had quite a few on-site fundraisers put on by participating students - lots of food and drinks like coffee, kettle corn, baked treats, etc.. Our Relay Committee worked to provide entertainment including a bounce house, a ping pong tournament against the local priest, live bands, Minute To Win It games on the main stage, a video game tournament, Olympic Games tournament, and finally a casino room.

NCLT: How did you engage in mission during the event?

UT: As with all Relays we try to take care of our survivors and caregivers during the event, but something unique this year was related to cancer education. We played a Kahoot game that was made up of Relay trivia and cancer statistics. Over 300 participants played.


NCLT: Why do you think you were able to successfully exceed your goal? What was different this year or what did you keep the same?

UT: The biggest thing that was different this year that led to surpassing our goal was the mindset of the committee. Committee members were absolutely dedicated to not only reaching our goal but going above and beyond. This year we did a few team building exercises at the beginning of the year to make sure everyone knew each other’s names and titles. Expectations were set at the first meeting in the spring of last year and consistently talked about leading up to the event. Additionally we created a “Battle of the Branches” point system to reward committee members for things like wearing purple during meetings, accomplishing the goals they set at the beginning of the year, and having perfect attendance and meetings and events. It helped that they became friends throughout the process and saw each other outside of our meetings. The committee was close-knit and became friends with each other, which made it easier to work together as a team. It seemed that no matter what the committee position, it truly was a team effort - everyone wanted to succeed personally and event-wide. The positivity and dedication of the committee was arguably the main catalyst to this year’s success.

NCLT: What advice do you have for other campus or community events that are looking to crush their goals?

UT: The biggest advice we have is that your event is only going to go as far as the dedication and passion your leadership exhibits. You can plan, organize, and execute all you want - but if there is no heart behind it the event will not reach its potential. Hard work gets you to the event, but passion gets you through the event. In addition, we would advise committees to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising. If a fundraiser didn’t work last year don’t be afraid to cut it - it didn’t work, don’t waste your time. But don’t be afraid to start new things, because the little fundraisers add up in the end! Ensure the event is as fun as it can be - you hope participants will come in with a generous wallet but for the most part people like getting something in return for their money. A big part of fundraising is ensuring you can get the largest group of people there for the longest amount of time - the longer they are there the more money the event will make. Don’t give up when things get hard, and just make sure that every time you meet your committee you ask them to remember why they are here - for cancer patients, survivors, and their family members.

As told by Katy Merkel and Allison Boesel to Megha Mathur.

Fundraising Ideas: Basketball Challenge

KSU Knock Out Cancer

Relay For Life of Kansas State University started off the year with a major setback, but with amazing leadership and great ingenuity they still made a big impact. Relay For Life of K-State was combined with the Riley County Relay. Relay For Life of K-State wanted to host an event on campus to garnish support and help raise awareness for the event, so they created Knock Out Cancer, a knockout basketball tournament. To play, everyone had to register online through a website called

The event did an amazing job of incentivizing people to join the tournament with multiple give away contests and tabling events.

At the event there was a lot of food and a wide variety of prizes donated to the event from local vendors for participants to enjoy. In the end, the event raised close to $2,400 and brought a new way to fight against cancer to their campus. This event is a great idea for a fall fundraiser to engage your campus early in the year!

If this event sounds interesting to you, please contact Karen Rubenstein ACS Youth Ninja. for more information or resources. Also check out the ACS Play Basketball webpage.

Campus FAQ's: Virtual Survivor Programs

Do you Relay for a Survivor who cannot make it to your event because of health, distance, or other constraints? Did you know they can still participate in your event as a Virtual Survivor? Download the Virtual Survivor Sheet to share with your event!

What is a Virtual Survivor?

A Virtual Survivor is a person that has been diagnosed with cancer but cannot physically attend a Relay For Life event  due to distance, time, illness, or any other constraint. These are the people in our lives that we CELEBRATE at Relay For Life, whether or not they can be with us at the event.

How does it work? 

If you have a loved one who is unable to join us at the Relay For Life Opening Ceremony, you can still pay tribute to them by walking in their place.  By creating an 8.5x11 poster, you can honor them throughout the night.  In addition to carrying this poster, you can honor them by decorating the back of your event t-shirt.

Why Should I Participate?

Relay is all about Celebrating Survivorship.  We all Relay for someone special and the Virtual Survivor program allows you to CELEBRATE the life of your loved one when they can’t be with you at Relay.  Have your Survivor register at (your event name) as a Survivor.

If your Survivor does not have an email address but would like to sign up for an event, there is an easy process to get them registered, without having scan a form. They can call the National Cancer Information Center (NCIC) at 1-800-227-2345 option 2 and tell the Income Support Specialist (ISS) that they would like to register as a survivor for an event, but that they don’t have an email to use or wish to share. A NCIC representative will ask them a few questions to understand the level at which they’d like to participant and register them. They will also explain how to update their registration if they want to actively fundraise online or update their personal fundraising page, which will require an email.

Breast Cancer Awareness Celebration

Campus Relay's Promoting Breast Cancer Awareness

Happy Halloween! It’s crazy to see that October is already over. It’s been incredibly inspiring and exciting to see SO many campuses participate in Breast Cancer Awareness month and put on amazing events on their campuses! In this blog post, we’ll be featuring all the awesome things you guys did all throughout the month of October to raise awareness! Make sure you check out the pictures at the bottom of this post.

Northwestern University

At Northwestern University, they participated in Making Strides of Park Ridge by tabling at the ACS CAN tent all morning, getting over 100 petitions signed at the event. On campus, they guarded “The Rock” for 24 hours and then painted it pink to raise awareness on campus for not only breast cancer, but also Relay For Life as an organization. They also partnered with their Zeta Tau Alpha chapter and passed out pink ribbons for students to pin onto their backpacks. Way to go Northwestern!

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

At he University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, they hosted a Pink Week on their campus quad, where they sold both short sleeve and long sleeve shirts the entire week to raise money for their CAC chapter. They also had tons of information and activities about breast cancer screenings and prevention! Amazing work UofI!!

University of Georgia

Relay For Life of The University of Georgia hosted a Pink Out Tailgate where they handed out tons of pink treats while educating students on breast cancer statistics and facts! Way to go, UGA!

University of Wisconsin, Madison

At UW-Madison, they hosted an awesome Breast Fest Week, which included a fall kickoff, a breast cancer panel, a bros in bras event, a balloon release, and an event reminding loved ones to schedule their mammograms. They also hosted a fall luminaria ceremony as a big part of their week! Congrats on an amazing Breast Fest Week, UW-Madison!

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

ACPHS Relay For Life decorated their student center with various pink decorations to amp up the excitement for Making Strides in Albany. They also held a Think Pink Party, which had Basket-Bra, Plinko, raffles, and a pink bake sale which raised $500! They also had a penny wars competition between the male faculty members on who would wear a pink mullet wig for a day to raise awareness for the Real Men Wear Pink Challenge, which raised $50! Finally, students, faculty, and staff came together and participated in their local Making Strides event and raised $4,463.49. Amazing work ACPHS!

DePaul University

At DePaul University, the CAC chapter volunteered at their Making Strides event in Chicago as ACS CAN reps and as cheerleaders. They also hosted an events with their activities board where students can decorated ribbon shaped cookies and take pictures with a giant pink chair. Breast cancer informational material and pink ribbons were also handed out. Awesome work DePaul!

Eastlake High School

At Eastlake High School, they created crowd boards for the student section to hold that created the image of a pink ribbon. They also tabled at lunch periods and asked students to text two women in their life asking them to get their annual mammogram. They also made cards for all of their female faculty members reminding them to get their mammograms as well. Amazing work Eastlake!

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater hosted a Bros in Bras event on their campus, and collected donations for Relay For Life of UW-Whitewater while passing out baked goods! Great work UW-Whitewater!

Ohio State University

At The Ohio State University, the Relayers put on a pink week, which featured bra pong, and tons of information pertaining to breast cancer awareness. Great work OSU!

SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Geneseo put on Breast Week Ever on their campus, where they provided information on mammograms, had a pink pumpkin painting day, played bra pong, sold tee shirts, passed out ribbons, and held a dodgeball tournament. They also participated in their local Making Strides Event! What a phenomenal week for SUNY Geneseo!

Thank you to ALL the schools that participated in Breast Cancer Awareness month this October and did your part to help raise awareness on your campuses! Although October may be over now, our campaigns to raise awareness on our campuses never end! Be sure to take all the amazing work you did this month and carry it over to the months to come! 

CAC Best Practices: Survivor and Caregiver Engagement

Survivor and Caregiver Engagement on Campuses


Colleges Against Cancer is one of the largest and most active clubs at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health sciences thanks to the 100+ students, faculty and staff who are dedicated to the success of our chapter. With the overwhelming support we receive each year we have been able to develop passive and active programs that meet the goals of all four pillars of the American Cancer Society. Our Colleges Against Cancer chapter was awarded National Survivor and Caregiver Engagement Chapter of the Year for 2015 - 2016.
Our Survivorship committee created opportunities to work closely with Albany Medical Center and the local American Cancer Society Hope Club to support people battling cancer. The students put together Chemo Care Packages which contained fuzzy socks, hand sanitizers, tissues, mints and chapstick that were then donated to patients receiving chemotherapy at the hospital. To lift spirits we participated in a comedy night at the Hope Club, in which our students were able to spend time with survivors and their families and try to laugh away some of the stresses that these people face on a daily basis.  A new program we participated in last year that was well received was working in the garden at the Hope Club. Our students cleaned out the garden, planted new flowers and decorated the area to turn the space into a relaxing oasis that patients and families could use for reflection.
One of our most rewarding experiences was visiting the children’s oncology unit at the Albany Medical Center and playing games, doing crafts and talking with them. Our students dressed up as the kids’ favorite superheroes and were able to leave them with Love Your Melon hats that were donated. Being with children who are battling this ugly disease and seeing them still have joy and light in them is continued inspiration for us to do what we do as College’s Against Cancer, and we hope to continue our partnership with Hope Club and AMC.
Our largest events are Making Strides against Breast Cancer and, of course, Relay For Life.  At both of these events we incorporate the other pillars into the fundraisers and programming we do to raise awareness, support and money for ACS.
For Making Strides, we decorated our Student Center Atrium in pink prior to the walk and our “Think Pink Party”.  During the Think Pink Party, people were able to get pink manicures, pink hair extensions, play games, win raffles and enjoy pink treats from our bake sale.  Through these various events and fundraisers, we were able to raise $3,790 and had 102 participants for the walk!

Relay For Life is one of the largest events on our campus and last year’s theme was “Saving the World One Cure at a Time”.  Through our kick off and fundraising events we incorporated the theme through different drinks (Hulk Juice and Flash Drink), snacks (Fantastic Four Veggies and Dip, Cheese and Pretzel Hammers and Chocolate Covered Batman Pineapple) and activities.  The night of Relay we dedicate an entire room to the survivors who attend and provide free back massages.  We also create gift baskets for each of them to take home which last year included a coffee mug, hot chocolate, prayer rocks, a custom-made adult coloring book and heating packs made by our schools Craft Club.  At Relay our Education chair worked with our ACS Rep to have a large inflatable colon that we stationed over the Relay track.  All walkers had to pass through the colon and could stop and see the different stages of polyps and cancer for people to look at and touch.  Our Advocacy Chair was able to team up with a local hair salon and bring in hair stylist to volunteer their time to shave the heads of students who were “going bald through cancer”. Eighteen students and faculty either shave their heads or donated 8 inches of hair to Pantene for their program that creates wigs for cancer patients.  The going bald for cancer event raised over $400! In total for our Relay Event we were able to raise $43,965 with 37 teams and 496 participants.  Our College’s Against Cancer Chapter was so excited about the year we had last year.  Each of our 4 Pillars are well are their way to planning events that bring awareness to Cancer Education, Advocacy, Survivorship and Relay For Life and we can’t wait to see what this year brings!  

Guest Blog by Breanne Spear and Nicole Kelly of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Relay Best Practices: Mini-Relays

Themed Mini-Relays from the Relay For Life Chapter of the Year

One of the most effective ways UC Berkeley's CAC keeps our campus motivated, inspired and engaged throughout the year is through our monthly mini-Relay events that are about 8-10 hours long! We try to incorporate cancer education, advocacy, and survivor and caregiver engagement into every one of our monthly mini-Relays. 

Our mini-Relays are themed to the different holidays of the month, so we try to design fundraisers, games, educational material that fits said theme. For example, in February we host Relay For Love, and for our fundraiser we sold "crush cans", where people could anonymously send their crush (or whoever) a can of Crush (the soda) with a little message on it. We also handed out candy with cancer facts attached to them to students on campus. We always have Relay sign-ups (both electronic and hard-copy) present at each mini-Relay to register people throughout the year. 

In addition, we hand out educational flyers/pamphlets, and hand out our Relay For Life flyers (with registration links and our social media links). Other examples include, Relay For Leaves (November), Relay For Lights (December), Relay For Luck (March), Relay For Laughs (April). Logistically, all board members and committee members bring in what their committees do to the events! For example, the fundraising committee designs the fundraiser, the recruitment committee uses this as a platform to bring in Greek life and use our table as an active way to recruit, the marketing committee blasts our events on our website and all social media platforms, the logistics committees books the location and gets any equipment needed, and the entertainment committee brings any acts we may need, such as acapella groups to perform (to attract attention!). Finally, we use them as a way to get signatures for different petitions for our local government, such as a petition to increase taxes on cigarettes and get people signed up for ACS CAN. We have found our mini-Relays to be really successful, because it gives a great opportunity to fundraise, reach out to people, educate the community, and recruit!

In terms of marketing, we create Facebook events for each mini-Relay. We also post the link to events on our Twitter page and Instagram account. We have sign-up sheets at our table throughout the year (we table on campus Tuesday-Thursday, 4 hours each day) for interested individuals for our CAC meetings and for those interested in Relay to receive our monthly newsletter. We flyer throughout the year (very popular on UC Berkeley's campus).

We also post cancer facts and online challenges throughout the year to keep people pumped and engaged for Relay! An example of a recent challenge was, the team that raises the most in a week’s period gets 400 Spirit Cup points! (Spirit Cup is another way we keep the teams motivated- there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places that teams compete for by getting spirit cup points by fundraising, recruiting, sending emails, etc). A new idea we had this year was to design and use Snapchat filters (via a geotag) for our different events. One of the great things about having monthly mini-Relays is that the we are a constant presence and people now know who we are and have come to expect us every month



Relay Best Practices: Kickoff's

Now that Labor Day has passed, we know that summer is coming to a close! Which can only mean one thing: the 2017 Relay For Life season is upon us!

In just a few short days all of the BRAND NEW event websites will be live. As a best practice, we encourage every campus to host a Fall Kickoff to market their Relay For Life event to the entire campus. Kickoffs could include hosting a “Relay Rally” in which students on your campus come out to see what a day-of Relay experience is like, promoting Relay through tabling with games and activities as well as computers for anyone interested in signing up, or even having an ice cream social where your committee has the opportunity to talk about Relay and why others should join! There are truly endless opportunities, but the central message of a Kickoff should be to jump-start Relay on your campus, and showcase what an incredible event you are. This is your chance to make a powerful first impression on your study body that can set the tone for your Relay year.
Kickoffs are a great way to start every semester by reminding them that Relay For Life is the largest worldwide movement to end cancer, and by joining they will be a part of helping the American Cancer Society SAVE MORE LIVES! Take a look at these videos for more inspiration on how to bring a kickoff event to your school with speakers, informational booths, and more:
Virginia Tech Kickoff:
Relay For Life of Turkey Kickoff:

Whether you decide to host a large or small kickoff, be creative and have fun with it! There are several ideas on our latest Best Practice Guide HERE. As always, you can also utilize our Campus Relay For Life & CAC Facebook page to ask any questions or seek ideas from other schools across the nation. 

Questions or comments? Contact Kelly or Corey, NCLT Co-Chairs!

Relay Best Practices: Marketing Videos

If you’re looking for some inspiration and some ideas on how to start your 2016-17 Relay marketing initiatives, we have some samples for you. With the Relay season starting in a few weeks, we thought you might want to see what some other schools have done with their marketing videos. Although campuses nationwide may have different ways of marketing Relay For Life and grabbing the attention of their audience through our mission, all of the ways we market are captivating, inspirational, and brings the excitement around Campus Relay. We found some of the most popular videos created by the American Cancer Society, as well as various marketing videos used in the past by the top campus events nationwide.These are short videos, ranging from 30 seconds to a few minutes, all captivating the mission and the heart of Relay For Life.

American Cancer Society

Langley McLean

Boston University

SUNY Geneseo

University of Oklahoma

James Madison University

Southern Methodist University

Purdue University

University of California- Los Angeles

Virginia Tech

Florida State University

Boston College

Grand Valley State University

Keep sharing your marketing videos with us. Send us the link here and it just might be featured in an upcoming blog!