Muhlenberg's Relay for Life asks participants "Why Do You Relay?" on April 2.

News Image The eight-hour event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and organized by Muhlenberg’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), begins at 6:00 p.m. in the Life Sports Center.

By: Marisa Rubin '17  Thursday, March 31, 2016 02:51 PM

According to the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life website, the program began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt ran and walked for a 24-hour period to raise more than $27,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. Since the program's inception, more than $5 billion has been raised worldwide to fight cancer.

Relay for Life requires at least one person from each registered team to walk the indoor track at all times in honor of those unable to participate due to cancer. This year students hope to raise over $36,000 for ACS. The proceeds fund not only cancer research but also assist cancer patients in numerous ways, including transportation for chemotherapy and use of Hope Lodges, housing provided by ACS for families traveling for cancer treatment.

Muhlenberg students Relay to celebrate life, fight back against cancer and remember the lives lost to the terrible disease. Thanks to efforts on campus, from other Relayers around the world and from ACS, over 400 more birthdays are celebrated each day, and now 2 out of 3 cancer patients survive the disease.

“Relay for Life is so important," says Heather Lash, Muhlenberg’s CAC mission pillar. "The money contributed goes towards the mission of Relay to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.”

Nearly all of the students involved in planning this year’s Relay have lost loved ones to cancer, including Emily LeBoeuf, CAC’s marketing and videography chair.

“My sophomore year I lost 2 grandparents within three weeks of each other to the battle of cancer,” says Emily. “I want the whole school and community to know that this is a celebration and to know that even though some may have lost their battle, some people will win.”

As part of the Relay programming, participants conduct a Luminaria ceremony, where purchased tea candles are placed inside paper bags in honor, memory or support of someone who has fought, is fighting or has lost the fight to cancer. When the lit candles line the track, a CAC spokesperson delivers a short speech and participants walk several laps in silence. Many find this aspect of Relay to be the most difficult and poignant as they think of loved ones, hold onto friends and cry in memory.

Muhlenberg College is ready to Relay. In the week preceding the event, CAC has raised over $29,000 and registered 468 participants. As the campus approaches Relay this weekend, the students remind the community that they Relay to fight back and ask - why do you Relay?

To sign up for Relay or to contribute, visit the Muhlenberg College Relay website. The donation window for this year's Relay remains open until August 2016.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, Pa., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.