In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States is a pretty big place. So it makes sense that when it comes to fundraising and fighting cancer, the USA really knows how to go big.

turkey trot

We took a closer look at 5 of the most incredible fundraising initiatives happening across America – and what we found out was completely inspiring. If you’re based in the US and want to help fight cancer, these options are a great place to join thousands of others raising money and awareness.

Relay For Life

relay for life
Image credit:

Raising funds for the nationwide charity the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life events take place all across the United States, and even across the globe. With over 3.5 million participants so far, this is truly fighting cancer on a massive scale. So how does it work?

A Relay For Life event involves teams walking or running round a designated track or route, non-stop, for 6-24 hours. Every team must have a member on the track at all times, so members swap in and out in a relay, completing the task together. Longer events run all the way through the night, showing that cancer never sleeps, and mirroring the fact that people living with cancer have to deal with it every minute of the day.

relay for life candles

Most Relay For Life events begin with a welcoming ceremony, and laps of the track by cancer survivors and caregivers, when the whole crowd of participants gathers to show their appreciation for people going through cancer. While they’re not running or walking, team members continue fundraising activities by taking part in games and activities around the event. Often when the event goes on into the night, candles are lit in a vigil to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, and those who are suffering with it today.

Find out more about Relay For Life at the American Cancer Society website. 

Turkey Trots

Turkey Trot Cancer

Every Thanksgiving, runners and walkers all across the USA gather in their towns and cities to run their local ‘Turkey Trot’. It might be 5K, 10K, or perhaps even longer, but the idea is that people can burn off the calories from their big Thanksgiving meal, and do some good for charity at the same time. Events can be big or small, depending on the size of your community, and people really get into the spirit of things, even dressing up in turkey suits to complete the run.

NYC Turkey Trot 2017

Turkey trots can raise money for any charity, not just cancer-related ones. But since Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and generosity, often cancer charities will get a boost from the events – for example, the 2017 New York City Turkey Trot donated all funds raised to the Young Survival Coalition, supporting young women with breast cancer.

Race For The Cure

Race For The Cure
Image credit: Palm Beach Daily News

Set up in 1983 by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Race For The Cure raises money and awareness for breast cancer. What started as one race with 800 participants has now grown to over 140 races, with almost 850 thousand runners taking part in local events. Over the years, the foundation and its sponsors have managed to contribute over $2 billion to the fight against cancer, including research, education, and treatment.

Races For The Cure taking place in the US in 2017. Image credit: Susan G. Komen Foundation

The foundation has the goal of reducing breast cancer deaths in the US by 50% by 2026. Find out more on the official website of the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.

Coaches Vs Cancer

Another nationwide cancer initiative raising money for the American Cancer Society is a longstanding partnership with the NABC – the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The Association uses their expertise in healthy living and their ties to local communities, as well as their high profile in the sporting industry to make cancer care and prevention a high priority for fans and supporters of the sport.

coaches vs cancer

The original Coaches Vs Cancer concept was set up by coach and cancer survivor Norm Stewart, who encouraged fans to donate $1 for every 3-point shot made by his team that season. Since its inception in 1993, the initiative has expanded to cover education, national events, and high-profile sponsors, and has raised over $100 million for the American Cancer Society to date.

Read more about Coaches vs Cancer.


Curefest for childhood cancer

This annual event takes place in Washington DC as part of Childhood Cancer Month, and unites people from over 40 states to raise funds and awareness for Childhood Cancer. Every September, families affected by childhood cancer, as well as the people and organisations that support them, gather to share experiences and take part in events that give a voice to one of the most underfunded forms of cancer in the USA.


CureFest has a great family-friendly atmosphere, with hundreds of kids taking part in the activities and events, as well as meeting other kids going through similar cancer struggles. Events include a huge group walk through the city, candlelight vigils, and entertainment acts.

Read more about CureFest.