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Relay4Life and St. John’s: A long joint history


Relay For Life, a 24-hour life-affirming event and fundraiser for the Foundation Against Cancer, has developed an exceptionally close relationship with the St. John’s community ever since we first hosted in 2012. Staff, students, parents, companies, organisations, and expat groups form teams, compete for a cause, remember those lost to cancer, and celebrate the survivors. Last year we could not organise the event, and whether we will this year is still uncertain. However, since 2016 we have been organising a Relay Recess “in-house”. We have already started planning for this fantastic day. You can find some impressions from years past here for all those who have fond memories.   Relay For Life was first held in the United States in 1985 and has grown to over 3500 events in 30 countries. The International Community of Brussels Relay was one of the first three to be organised in Belgium in 2011. Back then, this first event took place at Tour & Taxis in Brussels. St. John’s immediately joined in and sent Team Roar to participate. The team loved it so much that its members suggested that the next event would take place at St. John’s. Challenge accepted!


2015 Opening
In this video from 2012 you can see how the school community gave their all for the movement right from the start. Amongst others, these were some of the teams that participated: 

  • Team Roar, composed mostly of Primary School staff
  • Team MS Gems, a Middle School staff competitor
  • Team Red, powered by St. John’s High School Staff
  • Team St. John’s, our non-teaching staff did not stand on the sidelines
  • Team G.B., with the in-famous Caz.


2015 Team Zumba
And let’s not forget the numerous student-led teams. Indeed, Relay For Life has been a genuinely maturing experience and an incredible way to practise teamwork skills while serving the community for many of St. John’s alumni/ae. Several student-teams signed up over the years. It all started with Team F.A.R.T. (Friends Always Running Together – somebody clearly still needed a bit more maturing!) in 2012 and Team Cancer Terminators, founded by Alicia Meghlaoui-Huc when she was only in Grade 8 in 2016, which is still active today. You can see a video that Alicia made in support of our Virtual Relay For Life.   Since St. John’s is also brimming with multi-talented students, we enjoyed many live performances during each year’s event.


2016 Students performing
For several years, Marina Tavolieri sang to accompany the very moving Luminaria ceremony in remembrance of the loved ones lost to cancer and in support of those still battling the disease. There have been several parent teams as well. Team Wild Cards has been a remarkably faithful one, never missing an event.


2017 Student Band
While Relay For Life is a festive and inspiring event, it is also an earnest fundraiser. Team members show their deep commitment to the event and the fight against cancer by actively raising funds in the months before and continuing to do so afterward. Relay For Life’s success also depends on sponsors and donors who significantly boost the Relay For Life Movement’s overall financial success.  If you want to support the student teams, you can do so here: 


2016 Opening in rain
In 2016, Relay For Life got company when Relay Recess was born. Relay Recess follows many of the same principles but is aimed at young children. We are very proud that St John’s was the first Primary School in Belgium to have held such an event. Children from TimberTots to Grade 5 participate in fundraising, workshops, and physical activities while being mentored by Grade 9 & 10 students. Over the last five years, this annual event has become a highlight on the school calendar.


2014 Team GB
All proceedings raised for Relay For Life are donated to the Belgian Foundation against Cancer, supporting the Foundation’s local effort. This Relay For Life branch has raised about 30,000 euros so far.


2014 R.F.L
At the moment, the organising committee is working hard in creating a Relay For Life experience to welcome you back in a Covid-proof environment — more information about the R.F.L. movement and event in the coming weeks.


2017 Survivors


2014 Rino & Officer Mark


2014 G10 Student Team 2


2014 Roar


2014 Team Roar


Wild Cards


St John's by Night


2016 Opening


2016 Roar


2016 Team Wild Cards


2019 Team Cancer Terminators