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

Five Steps to Broadcasting Your Event Online

Take your event into the 21st century by broadcasting online with just your iPhone!

Have you ever had someone tell you that they couldn't join your Relay because they would be out of town that week? Or do you know survivors who live in another state but you want them to see the support that they have in your town?

With social media, you can now broadcast your event live to the whole world! There are a couple of easy ways to get your event online with a little tech savvy. There are five key steps in taking to broadcast your event that anyone can do. There is an option for every Relay event no matter where you are, how big or small.

Want to learn all about broadcasting your event? Download the instructions here!

Blog by Evan Haas- WRCLT

ACS CAN Lobby Day 2016

Every year, hundreds of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network staff partners and volunteers travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. The goal is always the same: meet with our nation's lawmakers to share personal stories and ask that they make the fight against cancer a national priority. However, each year presents different challenges and objectives. 

This year, we will be calling on Congress to support three unique asks. 

First and foremost, ACS CAN volunteers are requesting an increase in cancer research funding. We have proposed a $680 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Current projects are seeing great success in treating cancer, but hundreds of researchers are forced to abandon their groundbreaking work due to a lack of funding. As the incidences of cancer are projected to increase dramatically over the next decade, this ask is crucial. It is important to ride the momentum of current research projects and ensure new projects are properly funded.

Secondly, we are asking Congress to support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act. This is more commonly referred to as the Quality of Life Bill. Individuals diagnosed with cancer are faced with fear of the unknown, effects of treatment, and lingering physical symptoms of survivorship. Palliative care is an extension of care, and when used in combination with curative treatment plans, it has been proven to be most effective for cancer patients and their families. Individuals affected by cancer deserve an organized plan of overall treatment and this bill will provide that. 

Lastly, volunteers will stress the importance to support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screenings Act. Colorectal cancer is highly preventable with the help of screenings and removal of polyps. However, a loophole exists that leaves seniors on Medicare with a surprise bill if a polyp is found during a routine colonoscopy. We must better protect these individuals, while continuing to promote yearly colorectal cancer screenings. 

Each ask is a tall order in itself, but with personal stories, as well as the passionate staff partners and volunteers, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is making great strides each year. It is our mission to further our success in the fight against cancer this week in Washington, D.C. at Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. 

Leadership Summit and Lobby Day were unlike any other event I have attended. On the first two days of our visit, over 700 volunteers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam gathered to learn about the legislative asks and get prepared for the meetings with congressmen and women. Volunteers attended many breakout sessions where we split into groups based on experience and met peers from all walks of life. These meetings helped us gather stories to share with our lawmakers and bring back to our communities.

Lobby Day itself was a day full of emotions: power, hope, and a bit of nervousness. Meeting with lawmakers can be intimidating at first, but they turned out to be extremely receptive to all of our asks. Our personal stories helped bring reality to the legislation and proved our dedication to the cause. The day was busy and involved a lot of walking around and navigating the buildings, but was one of the most rewarding experiences we had all been a part of.

After Lobby Day, we were able to come back as a united front to share our lobbying stories. While varying states had different outcomes, no one felt defeated after leaving their meetings. We were all inspired and full of hope for the future after meeting with our lawmakers and sharing our stories. Some newcomers, like me, were able to witness the strong bonds that our veteran volunteers have developed with longstanding congressmen and women.

Lobby Day was an unforgettable experience that taught me so much about fellow volunteers, ACS CAN, and the policy aspect of healthcare legislation. Seeing so many dedicated volunteers come together for one cause is incredibly moving and inspiring. I believe all volunteers should have the opportunity to attend a local or federal Lobby Day and get motivated by volunteers near and far.

To get involved or learn more about ACS CAN and their mission, please visit acscan.org

Blog written by Allison Johnson (WRCLT) and Alessia Riccio (NRCLT)