In May of 1985, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, wanted to show his support for his patients who had battled through cancer. He decided to do this through raising money for the local American Cancer Society in his area. As a person who enjoyed running marathons, he used his hobby as a launching pad for the fundraiser. Dr. Klatt spent 24 hours running over 83 miles on a track as friends and family donated money to support his cause, and run or walk with him for 30 minutes. He raised $27,000 that day. The following year, another $33,000 was raised during the first annual Relay for Life fundraising team-event as 19 teams took the track to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Having a Relay for Life fundraiser is not a new concept, but the avenues in which to raise money have evolved into much more than walking around a track. Teams are no longer content to limit the amount of time to only 24 hours. Groups are looking outside of the annual event in an effort to raise even more money for a cure.

Small groups have success with scratch cards. Each member can raise $100 towards cancer research with this particular fundraiser. Larger groups can raise money through pizza cards. With the help of a local pizza vendor groups can sell cards prior to the Relay event, or during. Customers get a buy-1-get-1-free deal that is good for 20 different visits.

Other groups work through the year with cookie dough or candle sales. As a pre-sell fundraiser they collect money for a couple of weeks, then turn in a portion of the profits and give the rest to the ACS.

There are many Relay for Life fundraising ideas. What will your group do? How will you help this year?