Relay For Life is the celebration of cancer survivorship and the support of caregivers throughout the cancer journey. Relay For Life honours and celebrates the hope that cancer survivors and caregivers give others fighting cancer.
O – OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO BE INVOLVED WITH CANSA
The energy and spirit of Relay For Life encourages meaningful year-round volunteer involvement and is a powerful way for individuals to remain involved with the CANSA mission. Involving more people in our life-saving work is crucial. Relay For Life is a great way to get survivors and caregivers to stay involved with CANSA year-round. Make them excited them about their role in the fight against cancer and help them explore how they can do this.
P – PROVIDE HOPE THROUGH INFORMATION, EDUCATION AND SERVICE
Relay For Life is about empowering participants to learn more, share more and do more in the fight against cancer. Through Relay, we provide quality information about community programmes and services that connect cancer survivors and caregivers to the CANSA service.
E – ENGAGE SURVIVORS & CAREGIVERS AS ACTIVE CANSA VOLUNTEERS
Relay For Life is not only about walking around a track, but to survivors and caregivers the steps taken at this life changing event are just the first of many opportunities to provide hope to others fighting cancer. It is important to invite, excite and explore these opportunities to help connect survivors and caregivers with the many ways that they can deepen their involvement with CANSA.
Share your story of hope and encouragement on Champions of Hope – CANSA Survivors Facebook group. (For all cancer survivors or caregivers)
Relay For Life Caregiver Initiative
Caregivers Providing Support – Touching People’s Lives
Attention ALL Caregivers:
A caregiver is anyone who has provided daily care for someone with cancer, as a family member, friend or essential healthcare professional might. Caregivers are also those who have provided assistance or support for someone with cancer such as emotional support, transportation, helping with chores or meals, spiritual guidance, etc. No matter the type or extent of support provided, caregivers are “get it done” people who truly understand the magnitude of a cancer diagnosis, the importance of being there and of community. This understanding and the value of the care they provide is never diminished regardless of whether they are currently providing that care, their survivor or loved one is cancer free or their loved one is no longer with them. Each is a caregiver who deserves the opportunity to be thanked and recognized. All caregivers are important! If you think that sounds like a broad definition, you’re right! If you think that sounds like nearly everyone you know, you’re right! We know that many people already attending our events are caregivers. So how do we set out to create that atmosphere of appreciation, recognition, and support for those special people?
Creating an Atmosphere of Appreciation, Recognition & Support:
Relay offers numerous opportunities to create an atmosphere welcoming to all caregivers. Included here are a few suggested ways to help you get started.
- Treat caregivers to their own Welcome Center offering a thank you card, punch or deserts and a special caregiver activity (i.e. craft handmade flowers for Gratitude Garden, create personalized caregiver/love one buttons, caregiver handprint banner, etc…)
- Create a Gratitude Garden that contains handmade flowers with the survivor or caregivers’ name in the center and the names and actions of caregivers on the petals.
- Create a Caregiver handprint wall/banner for messages to be written.
- Thank caregivers for all they do and telling their caregiver story.
- Specifically recruit caregivers to light luminaria or spell out HOPE or CURE Have a caregiver speaker at the survivor reception.
- Create stars with caregiver names and messages and hang in the survivor tent and around the track.
- Have a special caregiver lap inviting all caregivers to participate and ensuring caregivers whose survivors are no longer with are included. Special lap could be as part of opening ceremony or luminaria ceremony.
- Use caregiver banners for ceremonies, special laps and on display.
- Invite a caregiver to speak at your luminaria ceremony and include caregiver defining messaging.
- Create a “caregiver coupon book” that is given out to caregivers when they register. It contains coupons for different on–site activities or fundraisers throughout the day.
- Create a Foster a Caregiver program (for those not on team and those whose survivor is no longer with them).
Messaging: Display track signs defining what a caregiver is.
Messaging: Include caregiver defining messaging in opening ceremonies
Before & After Relay
- Recruit and identify a volunteer to your committee to plan and implement special caregiver activities and messaging.
- Include caregiver messaging in scripts and announcements and invite caregivers to speak at Relay meetings, launch events, etc.
- Offer caregiver coffees (similar to survivor coffees or receptions) throughout the year – honour them, educate them on CANSA offerings and engage them further in Relay.
- Put caregiver stickers on all name tags at meetings and pre–event activities.
- Include in all advertising and marketing caregiver messaging.
- Identify all opportunities to use caregiver defining messaging and promote inclusion of all caregivers.
- We’ve done a good job of promoting Survivor involvement by explaining just how important Survivors are to Relay For Life events.
- Begin a similar campaign with Caregivers, maybe a catchy slogan and include caregiver messaging.
Messaging: Include caregiver defining messaging in all event communications (email blasts, event website, newsletters, press releases, etc.) in an effort to reach all possible caregivers.
Messaging: If the event has a newsletter, include a small article each month about a caregiver that recognizes them. Include feature articles about caregivers currently providing care, those who have provided care and those whose loved one is no longer with them.