Relay for Life is a worldwide movement that aims to spread the key messages about cancer as well as raise much needed funds for cancer services. It started in USA, under the American Cancer Society, and is now held in over 20 countries around the world.
The National Cancer Society of Malaysia Penang Branch initiated the Relay in Malaysia, in 2005. KL and Malacca now also hold Relays. We look forward to other Malaysian states joining in.
Our Key Messages
As many of us will know only too well, cancer is already widespread and is on the increase. It is the third biggest killer in our country.
Many cancers are treatable, but many people remain ignorant about cancer and are scared by it. By helping challenge the myths of cancer and spread positive messages, you can help to save peoples’ lives and help people cope with cancer.
Building awareness about cancer is crucial for a successful fight against it. The key messages we ask you to help spread include
- There are over 200 different kinds of cancer, many of which are treatable.
- There are thousands of cancer survivors in Penang: we are not alone and we can get great inspiration from others through the sharing of experiences.
- Early detection and proper treatment saves lives. Go for regular check-ups.
- Practise a healthy life style and help avoid cancer and many other major diseases.
- There are many places to go to get help – contact us for advice and/or a list!
The Meaning of Relay
Relay brings us together as a community in our fight against cancer. It affirms that we can do things to protect ourselves and our loved ones against cancer; that we need to know more and spread knowledge to others; and that we can celebrate this fight together over the months of the Relay campaign, and of course at the final Relay event.
There are three key concepts for Relay which apply to us as individuals and as a Relay community: celebrate, remember, fight back.
We celebrate survivorship and everyone involved in fighting and supporting people in their fight against cancer – survivors, carers, families, and friends. The first lap at Relay is walked by survivors and their carers/supporters.
We remember those who have fought cancer. At Relay, we do this especially through the very special Luminaria ceremony. Hundreds of luminaria bags, dedicated to loved ones, line the track and are left burning throughout the night. It’s a spectacular sight.
We commit ourselves to fight back against cancer, through the various activities of Relay and beyond. This includes carrying the key messages (see Our Key Messages) to as many people as we possibly can, making sure people understand cancer better, how we can fight it, and where we can go for help.
Many people also ask why the ‘Relay’ at the final event. This year this will be overnight starting at about 6pm Sep 30th and going through till 10am Oct 1st. As many of you will know, in addition to all the entertainment, food, and other stalls which fill the field, there is a track which teams and individuals take turns to walk around (Relay For Life!). The sixteen hours of ‘relaying’ symbolise the journey of a cancer patient and the non-stop fight against cancer. As we walk around the track, we can think about the initial diagnosis of a cancer patient, and then, as time goes in, the various stages of reaction and treatment that patients and carers go through. It is a long journey for many, full of conflicting emotions, ranging from hope to despair. All this can be seen in our overnight Relay – and that is why we ask teams to keep at least one person on the track at all times, to share and symbolise our support for survivors and our communal fight against cancer.