Candle of Hope

Candle of Hope Ceremony

Darkness is symbolic of the fear that a patient feels when diagnosed. After sunset we light Candle Bags to remember those we have lost. The light also shows those affected by cancer that they are not alone. 

A feature of every Relay For Life is the Candle of Hope Ceremony. Hundreds of candle bags that have been personalised with messages of hope and remembrance are lit during a moving ceremony.


The Candle of Hope Ceremony starts at dusk, as a way to honour people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease. Candles are lit inside bags of sand, each bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants walk a lap in silence. As people take time to remember, those who have walked alongside others battling cancer can grieve and find healing. This is a time that truly highlights the importance of defeating this disease.


Candle of Hope bags available for a suggested donation of €5 and will be available at various locations throughout the county. Candle bags can be dedicated to anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis, whether alive or passed away. They will then be placed around the track on the Saturday evening of Relay (11th July) and lit as darkness falls. There will be a special dedication ceremony at dusk, around 10pm and then all will walk around the track in silence for about 10 minutes in honour of those who are being remembered in this way. They will remain lit throughout the night, while the walkers and vigil continues until Sunday morning.This is a very moving and integral part of any Relay and one well worth participating in, hugely moving.