Relay For Life of Father Ryan High School soars despite COVID

In the midst of a pandemic, the Relay For Life of Father Ryan High School in Nashville, TN, did not disappoint. Participants continued to raise critical funds for our mission and even met safely in person.

Father Ryan Accounting RFL Team

The Relay committee followed ACS safety guidelines to plan and host an in-person, student-led event this year. Co-chairs Julia Eidt and Matthew Dilucchio, both seniors, helped fellow students run the event with support and guidance from their co-advisors Michelle Mast and Jonathan McGee, both faculty at the school.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, top fundraising students were allowed to attend the event. Many students achieved this milestone by participating in our Peer-to-Peer Fall Fundraising Challenge. The event ranked #2 in the challenge, with 139 winners. Each winner raised at least $250 and received a long-sleeved, hooded t-shirt. There was a cap on the number of attendees to keep everyone safe.

On the day of the event, the committee met at 8 a.m., with every student sharing why they Relay. The students saw this as a special moment to share what motivated them to raise funds for the Society. Although this year looked different due to social distancing, it was a special bonding moment during a challenging year.

With their hard work for this event alone, it is clear why the Relay For Life of Father Ryan High School was the Nationwide Pat Flynn Spirit of Relay Winner in 2019.

Early in 2020 (before COVID-19), the Relay For Life of Father Ryan High School made a goal to raise $179,000. With their determination and Relay spirit, they were able to raise more than $162,000. The Relay ranked #3 in the nation in high school events. and #5 nationwide for all campus events.

We would also like to acknowledge the hard work of two other high-performing high school events in the nation. Both were able to take advantage of their full fundraising season without many COVID-19 implications:

The New Jersey Union County Vocational Technical School took the #1 spot for high schools and ranks #2 for all campus events, having raised more than $199,000. UCVTC pivoted their event to attend our Relay USA.

The #2 spot for high schools went to Kansas Blue Valley Youth for raising more than $173,000, and they ranked #4 for all campus events – hosting an in-person event prior to the impact of COVID-19 on March 6.


The Relay For Life movement is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser dedicated to helping communities attack cancer. From team members to volunteers, we all want to remember those we’ve lost, help those affected today, and take action against cancer. Through funds donated, time given, or awareness raised, our communities are teaming up to make a difference, whether we’re connecting virtually or sharing space. When we rally together in the fight against cancer through this fun and inspirational event, we can accomplish anything.

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