When Gordy Klatt back in 1985 ran the first track, for the benefit of cancer, he had probably not thought of that until today in 2015, had this slightly crazy idea , collecting more than $ 5 billion worldwide.
In 2006, it became also part of the Danish Cancer Society fundraising and patient support, and there has since been held Relay For Life 162 times. A total of 7,000 fighters participated, about 88,000 team members have held the relay ongoing, and collected approximately 30 million Danish kroner (4 millions €) during the year.
I'm sitting here with Finn Christensen (Program manager) and Pernille Hauge (Project manager) who have been there from the Relay For Life's first year in Denmark.
Can you tell why you chose to take Relay For Life to Denmark?
Relay For Life could offer something new to the Danish Cancer Society because it was community based and because it was activity-based. You could do something concrete together within your network in the fight against cancer. It is both a way to fight cancer and to raise funds on which we had not seen before.
What was it that made such an impression on you at Relay For Life ?
It was the diversity, both in participants with both young and old, sick and athletes etc. Involved, but also the diversity of impressions. There are both laughter and tears, joy and sorrow, triumph, hope, challenge, reflection, contemplation, presence and space to miss
What challenges did you have with the start of the first Relay For Life?
The Society has local branches in all municipalities in Denmark, and in the beginning we thought that it was obvious that the people in these local associations was responsible for organizing Relay For Life. This was a big problem, because it was probably not what local associations saw as their task. Therefore, we changed strategy and decided to start up new volunteer groups, which made the relay planets. After this change in strategy, the number of local Relays has grown significantly each year.
What do you think is the reason that we in Denmark have seen as strong growth of Relay For Life events?
After spending a few years to build up some experience with how the Relay For Life is a success in Denmark, we have now found a good strategy and have useful experience to build on. We have been confirmed in the Relay For Life is a unique experience for Fight and attendees, and our assessments show that 93% of those who participated would like to participate again the following year. They spread the word about Relay For Life in their networks, and it is what makes us feel that people now contact us to get a Relay event in their communities.
Many people talk about 2020 plans. How does your 2020 plan look like for Relay For Life in Denmark?
2020 targets for Relay For Life in Denmark is that we have 100 relays and 100,000 involved. It is an ambitious but realistic goals that we believe that we can reach
The newest member of the Relay For Life family is Turkey. What advice can you give on?
Our best advice is to experience the Relay is the most important, It is about creating life-changing experiences for participants fighters and volunteers. You made rather make a small, but good relay where everyone has had a good experience, than a big event without soul. When you have a good experience, it is easier to grow. This is important to each city, but also the country's development as such.