Relay for Life may hit roadblock in Carlton County

What if they had a Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research and nobody showed up?

It’s not exactly the case in Minnesota’s Carlton County, but apparently it’s not far off.

In an editorial today, the Pine Journal wonders why tomorrow night’s Relay for Life is an apparent bust?


Here in Carlton County, the Relay for Life event has been around for some 15 years and raised more than $500,000. But all is not well. This year’s event is slated for this Friday, Aug. 17, at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center. The goal is $33,000 – but sadly, the number of volunteers is way down, as is the financial support, and only two teams have signed up to take part. That’s pretty diminished circumstances for an event that once attracted 15-20 teams and hundreds of participants.

What could possibly be the explanation for this sad turn of events? It’s not all that unusual for some events to run their course after a period of time. However, anyone who has ever participated in, benefited from, or witnessed a Relay for Life event will be the first to admit they’ll never forget it.

Since the fundraising is taken care of ahead of time, the Relay is a night of pure celebration – celebration of a successful effort, celebration of those who have faced that cancer diagnosis and survived it, and celebration of the fact we’re a community united in our commitment to not only provide help and support to those who have cancer but to be a part of finding a cure for this dreaded disease.

Whatever the problem is, it doesn’t seem to extend to other parts of the state, where Relay for Life organizers variously describe successful fundraisers.

  • Robert Moffitt

    I am a former president of the board of directors for the American Cancer Society East Metro unit, which included the Carlton County area.

    It sounds like they need some new volunteer leadership for this relay. The model for the fundraiser is still sound, and as you noted, works in other communities.

    That said, fundraising events like this do have a life cycle. So many organizations hold walks, bike rides, stair climbs, etc. that there is more competition for the same donors and dollars.