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About Relay For Life at Penn State




The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life was founded by Gordon “Gordy” Klatt, M.D, who passed away on August 3, 2014, from heart failure after battling stomach cancer.  He helped shape an idea that started off as one man running and walking a track, and turned it into a global phenomenon for saving lives in every corner of the world.


Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer through the Relay For Life movement, which culminates in a walk-a-thon. We honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones that we have lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. Teams take turns walking a track or path, making sure that at least one member of the team is on that path at all times.


The ACS is a non-profit organization that is committed to eradicating cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the ACS has regional and local offices all over the nation. The Society relies on the strength of approximately 2.5 million dedicated volunteers, and has spent more than $4 billion on cancer research since 1946.





Relay For Life at Penn State has raised over $1 million for the American Cancer Society. In 2022, we raised $33,446.76 through year-long fundraising and our in-person event. Our event at Penn State is a 12-hour walk-a-thon. We also host many awareness events in the HUB and fundraisers throughout the year leading up to Relay weekend in April.


An incredible part of our organization is that anyone can get involved! Whether you are a Penn State student, faculty member, or a member of the local State College community, you are welcome to create a team and attend Penn State’s collegiate Relay. In 2023, we are excited for our event on April 22 at the Multi-Sport Facility. Help us finish the fight by creating or joining a team today at




One of the most memorable moments during the 12 hours is the night-time Luminaria Ceremony, where the Luminaria bags line the track on and are illuminated with candles. This ceremony is a time to remember those we have lost, those who are still fighting, and why we are all here.  

In addition to the Luminaria ceremony, you can expect to hear from guest speakers who have had their lives affected by cancer, play games (sports, minute to win it style games, etc.), hear live entertainment (bands, singing groups, dance groups) and enjoy delicious food! Relay For Life is a truly unique, fun, and inspiring event and something that everyone should experience during their years here at Penn State.  

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