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Fighting cancer, one step at a time

Lehigh President Alice P. Gast spoke to participants at the opening of this year's Relay for Life.

Hundreds of Lehigh University students, faculty and staff spent Saturday night fighting cancer in Sayre Field. As part of Relay for Life, they took turns walking or running around a path, starting at 7 p.m. and going all the way until 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

This year’s event was the largest ever at Lehigh. Almost 670 people registered, raising more than $74,500 to fight cancer. The biggest fundraisers were Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Pi Kappa Alpha. Most of the teams represented student clubs, fraternities and sororities, but for the first time, faculty and staff also formed teams for the relay.

Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society and gives people the chance to celebrate the lives of people who have survived cancer and commemorate the lives of those who have not.

The event was sponsored by Lehigh’s chapter of Colleges against Cancer. It opened with a speech from President Alice P. Gast, who congratulated the participants on their efforts, commended them on their great organization and wished them well.

When people weren’t walking, they enjoyed listening to local bands, participating in a cake decorating competition and cheering for the second annual Mr./Miss Lehigh Competition. Many of the teams also provided additional activities, like make-your-own s’mores and cotton candy.

The main features of the evening were the Survivor’s Walk, where survivors of cancer walk the path together to celebrate their victory over cancer, and the Luminaria Ceremony, when people honor loved ones who have been touched by cancer by lighting candles after dark.

“It is an amazing event that unites people through the shared passion to fight cancer,” says Kristen Peterson ’12, one of the students who organized the relay. 

“It is especially perfect for a college campus since it gets everyone involved and is a ton of fun, while at the same time it raises money for The American Cancer Society. People think that they can't really make a difference in the fight against cancer, but Relay proves that anyone can.”

Story by Emily Groff

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011

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