Relay for Life 2017
Relay for Life so much more than a 24-Hour Walkathon. Over 2,000 participants made the most of the entertainment activities on offer at sidelines of MENA region’s first ever event.
Having fun and celebrating life was the order of the day at the UAE Relay for Life 24-hour walkathon, the first ever event to be held in the MENA region. Commencing 4 pm on Friday 17th of November 2017 and running overnight until the same time on Saturday 18th of November 2017, the serious business of raising awareness and funds for the fight against cancer through a continuous walk around the athletics track at American University of Sharjah went hand-in-hand with an array of entertainment and activities taking place on its sidelines.
Organised by Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), the non-profit organisation that supports cancer patients and their families, the inaugural event attracted the participation of more than 2,000 ‘relayers,’ with the individuals and institutions taking part including 52 schools, six universities, eight partners, 37 government and private institutions, and 67 cancer survivors.
With the object of the walkathon being one of fun and laughter in a carnival atmosphere, Relay for Life had arranged for numerous activities to take place around the track, enabling those taking a break from their walk – as well as the supporters not participating directly – to enjoy a wealth of entertainment.
Over 40 activities were held around the clock during Relay for Life, including a live band and DJ performances, comedy acts, poetry readings and storytelling sessions. There was American football, golf, bubble soccer and jousting, while the most junior members of the family enjoyed bouncy castles, games, arts and crafts sessions, face-painting, movies and a soft play area. Energetic adults were able to work up a sweat and stave off tiredness at the boot camp and with the power stretching, Zumba and core express exercises on offer, while those wanting a more relaxed form of working out could make the most of the spinning classes, Pilates, and yoga.
The fun wasn’t just restricted to the sideline activities at UAE Relay for Life either, as the journey around the track had been designed to involve so much more than mere perambulation. For each hour of the 24 hours of the event there was a dedicated lap with a different theme. Included were the ‘make a new friend lap,’ a ‘sing-along lap,’ a ‘movement lap,’ a ‘casual lap,’ a ‘tutu lap,’ a ‘glow lap,’ a ‘superhero lap,’ a ‘conga lap,’ a ‘wake up lap,’ a ‘three-legged lap,’ a ‘kids’ lap,’ a ‘family lap,’ a ‘silly hat lap,’ a ‘make some noise lap,’ a ‘selfie lap,’ a ‘fancy dress lap,’ a ‘crazy hair lap’ and – as a grand finale at 3pm yesterday – a ‘fight back lap.’
Relay for Life was conceived in 1985 when colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordon Klatt in the USA successfully raised $27,000 for his local cancer charity. Since then, it has gone on to become the largest fundraising event for cancer in the world. Relay for Life has to date raised more than $5 billion (AED18.3 billion) in support of cancer patients worldwide, with the event now taking place in 29 countries