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To help promote our very first RELAY in 2012, Daniel O’Donnell kindly penned a song entitled “I’ll See this journey through”. Daniel donated the entire proceeds of the ‘’Record Sales plus Royalties’’ for one year to Relay For Life Donegal.

In December 2013 Daniel kindly agreed to become PATRON of Relay for Life Donegal.

We are indebted to him for this support and endorsement of RELAY FOR LIFE DONEGAL and the work RELAY does for Cancer Survivors and their Caregivers.

Daniel, go raibh maith agat as do chuid tacaíochta.


What happens in Relay For Life?

Teams of people will take turns to walk around a track in LYIT. Because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during this 24 hour event. When it’s not your turn on the track you are free to socialise, enjoy the live entertainment and join in the fun activities. Whether or not you are involved in a team you are invited to come along on the day and experience this inspiring event of celebration and commemoration. Highlights of Relay For Life Donegal can be seen on the video below

There are 3 different colour tee shirts worn during Relay For Life:

  • White
    Given to all team members
  • Yellow
    Given to people who are “caregivers” : someone who cares or cared for someone going through treatment for cancer. Remember you do not have to be a team member to register as a caregiver. for further details on how to register see the “Get Involved” section.
  • Purple
    Reserved strictly for the event’s VIP’s. These are worn by “Survivors” and are people who have gone through, or are going through, treatment for cancer. Remember you do not have to be a team member to register as a survivor. For further details on how to register see the “Get Involved” section.

During the event we invited some survivors to sit on the purple survivors couch and share with us some of their stories. You can see these below.


Relay began in Ireland in 2009 and there are now 12 Relay events held throughout the country.

The story of Relay for Life in Donegal began in 2012.  The 24 hour relay was held on a glorious weekend in May at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and it surpassed all expectations.  The Relay for life event held in Donegal in 2012 was the biggest first time relay ever and the biggest relay event in Europe.


Relay For Life was first held in Donegal in 2012  and was a massive success, it surpassed all expectations and some facts and figures are below:

  • 71 Teams participated in Relay For Life Donegal 2012
  • 5,100 “Candles of Hope” were lit
  • €350,000 was raised
  • Relay For Life Donegal was the BIGGEST FIRST TIME RELAY EVER
  • Relay For Life Donegal was the BIGGEST RELAY EVENT IN EUROPE in 2012

Relay for Life Donegal 2013 was also a massive success and despite the rain, everyone relayed in true Donegal spirit.

  • 71 teams participated
  •  4,600 “Candles of Hope” were lit
  •  €318,000 was raised.

The words hope, remember, fight back and celebrate were a true reflection of the themes of the event and the feelings of all that attended.


All the above assisted the Irish Cancer Society in the following ways:

  • Daffodil Centres: Daffodil Centres are the first service of this kind in Ireland. They provide support, within a hospital, to cancer patients, their family, friends and the general public – anyone who has any question or concern about cancer. There are currently eight Daffodil Centres in hospitals across the country and a new Daffodil Centre has opened in its temporary home in Letterkenny Shopping Centre and will be moved to  Letterkenny General Hospital in the coming months – the recruitment process for staff and volunteers is in progress at the moment. ICS invests €125,000 in the set up of a centre plus €80,000 towards running costs per year.
  • Nursing Services:  Care for cancer patients across the country in their own home during the last days of their lives. In the last  two years the society’s night nurses provided 323 nights of care throughout  Donegal.
  • Care to Drive: Irish Cancer Society volunteer care to drive, drivers have made 1,364 journeys with patients to and from Letterkenny General Hospital in the past two years. The service is now also available for patients going to Galway for radiotherapy.
  • Financial Aid: Is Given to cancer patients who are experiencing financial hardship due to their cancer diagnosis. In the last two years €47,605 has been granted to Donegal families.
  • Counselling: €214,080 granted to support centres nationally with €38,000 to counselling services in Donegal in the last two years.
  • Survivors Supporting Survivors: Connects someone going through a cancer diagnosis with someone who has been through a similar diagnosis and is several years post treatment. Trained volunteers in Donegal.
  • Cancer Support Centres: Irish Cancer Society assists  Cancer Support centres in Donegal – The Forge Support Group in Pettigo and Coiste Scaoil Saor o Ailse in Gweedore.
  • Health Promotion: The Community Health Education Programme (CHEP) and ICS has recruited and trained  volunteers to provide key messages on cancer prevention and early detection in their own community in Donegal.
  • Tackling Smoking: The X-Hale Youth Awards Programme was launched in 2011 giving local youth groups an opportunity to apply for a grant to fund their own anti-smoking campaign which they deliver directly to their peers in their own community. In 2012 two grants totaling €5000 were provided in Donegal.
  • National Smokers Quit Line is a confidential service staffed by trained advisers and specialist smoking cessation counsellors, providing information, advice and support to people who want to quit smoking. 3502 calls received in 2012.


The tremendous success of Relay for Life to date is testament to the commitment and resilience of the committees, sub committees, teams, sponsors and general public.

The Relay for Life story is ongoing.  Preparations are underway for Relay for Life Donegal 2015, which will be held at Letterkenny Institute of Technology on the weekend of Saturday 30th May and Sunday 31st May.  Why not be part of the next chapter?


The History of Relay For life is as follows; In the mid-1980s, Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Florida, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. He decided to personally raise money for the fight by doing something he enjoyed—running marathons

  • In May 1985, Dr. Klatt spent a gruelling 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound in Florida for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 to fight cancer. That first year, nearly 300 of Dr. Klatt’s friends, family, and patients watched as he ran and walked the course.
  • While he circled the track those 24 hours, he thought about how others could take part. He envisioned a 24-hour team relay event that could raise more money to fight cancer. Months later he pulled together a small committee to plan the first team relay event known as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.
  • Today Relay For Life fundraising events have taken place or are planned in over twenty countries around the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and now Ireland.

Sadly, last year, Gordy himself has been diagnosed with Cancer. All involved in Relay For Life Donegal extend their best wishes to Gordy and his family and we are delighted to hear he is keeping well.

Relay began in Ireland in 2009 and there are now 12 Relay events right across the country. Relay For Life raises funds and awareness of the work of the Irish Cancer Society. To find our more see