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RACINE COUNTY — Relay for Life Racine, the largest Relay for Life event in the state, will celebrate 30 years of working towards a cure for cancer on June 9 at Campus Park, 8500 Campus Drive, in Mount Pleasant.

Relay for Life Racine
Community members support survivors and caregivers, standing with them in solidarity. – Credit: American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society event features 12 hours of fun, community connection, and unity.

Established 36 years ago, Relay for Life Racine has been making strides since close to the event’s inception.

“This is just a huge Relay for Life event in terms of Relays across the nation and within the Midwest, so we’re just really proud of this and the Racine community. They’ve been around since almost the beginning of the Relay for Life program and I think it shows with the impact that Racine has made in the Relay for Life space,” says Maddie Petre, Senior Development Manager for Relay for Life.

At this one-a-kind walk, community members raise funds for cancer research, honor survivors, support the community, and celebrate Relay for Life’s impact which, through the American Cancer Society, works to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

In 2023, more than 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States and more than 600,000 Americans will die from cancer, but organizers with Relay for Life, volunteers, and attendees of events across the nation are hopeful.

“We have a huge ability in Racine County to make a massive impact in the American Cancer Society mission and to raise dollars that really can make a lasting impact on the fight against cancer,” says Petre.

Racine’s Impact

This year, the event in Racine is striving to raise $160,000.

Community members, businesses and organizations have already fundraised over half of their goal.

Relay for Life Racine
Racine community members show up in force for the Relay for Life event. – Credit: American Cancer Society

“There’s two sides of Relay for Life that are really important. First would be the dollars raised and the fundraising aspect of Relay for Life. Relay for Life is one of the largest fundraising events for the American Cancer Society and makes an incredible impact in the American Cancer Society’s mission to end cancer as we know it, for everyone,” explains Petre.

“The other side of it would just be the community aspects of a Relay for Life. It isn’t all walking. It isn’t like a race or a walk that people are typically used to. It’s really a family-friendly community event, where you can walk laps and honor people impacted by cancer, but you can also enjoy food, games, activities, and socialize with other community members.”

Petre reports that so far this year, there are 33 teams signed up, and they are expecting over 250 people to attend.

“The numbers aren’t back to where they were pre-pandemic, but we’re moving in the right direction to get back to the community event that we had before the pandemic. And I think we’re in a great spot growth-wise to continue growing in the years to come,” says Petre.

Providing for patients

Relay for Life and the funds raised at events like Relay for Life Racine has helped contribute to the following successes within the organization and beyond:

  • Invested $3.1 billion in cancer research since 1991, contributing to 3.5 million fewer cancer deaths.
  • Support programs have been established for people with cancer and their caregivers.
  • In 2022, the American Cancer Society provided more than 329,000 nights of free lodging to more than 19,000 patients and caregivers nationwide.
  • Free access to cancer information is available on the Relay for Life’s 24-hour helpline.
    • 300,000 calls and chats are responded to annually.
  • 50.8 million people in 2022 via lodging, transportation, NCIC calls and chats for information and support, and related patient work.
  • Advocating for high-quality, affordable health care for everyone, including closing the Medicaid coverage gap, through their advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
  • Funded 50 researchers who went on to win the Nobel Prize.

Relay for Life Racine 2023 schedule

The night officially kicks off starting at 6 p.m. on Friday and will follow with walking, a photo booth, food, music, silent auctions, a kid zone, raffles, camping, and prize drawings.

Pico’s Tacos will have their food truck on site.

Kona Ice will be serving up sweet and frozen treats. Domino’s pizza will be available too.

The event will wrap up on June 10 at 8 a.m.

Relay for Life Racine
Through the fundraising efforts, over $3.1 billion has been raised for eradicating cancer. – Credit: American Cancer Society

“We have a jam-packed schedule. This is our 30th anniversary, so we really wanted to make this event super fun and engaging,” expresses Petre.

The theme for this year’s event is Pirates of the Cure-ibbean. People are welcome to dress in theme.

View the schedule below for an in-depth look at how this year’s Relay for Life Racine plans to pan out.

Honoring survivors and caregivers

Each year, the event honors the fight of local survivors and caregivers.

This year Piper Sendelbach and her mother, Tricia, will be honored and address the community during the Luminary ceremony. Piper is a childhood cancer survivor who will share her story as an Honorary Survivor. Her mother will also share as this year’s Honorary Caregiver.

According to Petre, the Sendelbach family was meant to be at last year’s event as speakers but were unable to make it due to COVID-19.

In addition, Chris Otto will be honored as another Honorary Survivor along with honoring Julie Matusiak as an Honorary Caregiver.

    Get involved

    • Create or join a team for Relay for Life Racine 2023
    • Dedicate a Luminaria
      • Luminarias honor every life touched by cancer. Dedicate them to a loved one lost, someone currently battling, or anyone who’s overcome it. When attending a Relay event, the decorated luminarias.
    • Create a Facebook fundraiser
      • Learn how to here
    • Donate to this event
    • Join the Relay for Life Racine Facebook group
    • Show up to walk and register at the event

For more information about Relay for Life, visit their website here.

Get connected and direct questions to Maddie Petre by emailing

Relay for Life Racine
Luminarias at a Relay for Life Racine event. –


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