Colleges Against Cancer hosts Relay Restaurant Week fundraiser

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Pepperoni and plain pizzas sit on the counter at Campus Pizza on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 during Colleges Against Cancer Restaurants Week. Some proceeds from this evening will go to Lehigh’s Relay for Life fund to help fight cancer. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Pepperoni and plain pizzas sit on the counter at Campus Pizza on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 during Colleges Against Cancer Restaurants Week. Some proceeds from this evening will go to Lehigh’s Relay for Life fund to help fight cancer. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Lehigh’s Colleges Against Cancer club is presenting its first-ever Relay Restaurant Week. Students and community members have the opportunity to dine at Lehigh’s local restaurants, and a portion of their bill will go to benefit the American Cancer Foundation from Feb. 15 to 21.

Club advisers David Joseph and Mary K. Baker were having lunch around Lehigh’s campus when they came across the idea for a restaurant week. Within minutes of running around town, the two already had several restaurants signed up to participate. The mission of Colleges Against Cancer’s Relay Restaurant Week is to stir up hype for the upcoming Relay For Life fundraiser in April, while helping to bring business to some of Lehigh’s local eateries.

General Zapata’s kicked off restaurant week, hosting an all-day event. Some of the other restaurants participating include Campus Pizza, La Lupita and Molly’s Irish Pub. Between 15 and 20 percent of each person’s bill will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Colleges Against Cancer members also hope restaurant week will also be a community builder. Co-chair Danielle Klein, 17, has found that a common struggle like cancer is a great way to bring people together.

“Colleges Against Cancer allows me to do two things I love: getting involved in the Lehigh community and fighting for a world without cancer,” Alex Panagakos, ’17, said. The event is not exclusive to Lehigh students or Colleges Against Cancer members, so all walk-ins will leave having preformed a good deed.

Colleges Against Cancer, which has been at Lehigh for 10 years, hopes restaurant week will encourage people to participate in their annual Relay For Life event. They raised $70,000 last year to benefit people struggling with cancer and help to find a cure. The proceeds from restaurant week and Relay For Life go to help pay for things such as wigs and transportation to medical appointments, Klein said.

Zach Davis, ’18, Ethan Schneider, ’18, and Derek Freyberg ’17 eat dinner at Campus Pizza on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 during Colleges Against Cancer Restaurants Week. A portion of the proceeds help support Lehigh's Relay for Life fund. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

Zach Davis, ’18, Ethan Schneider, ’18, and Derek Freyberg, ’17, eat dinner at Campus Pizza on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 during Colleges Against Cancer Restaurants Week. A portion of the proceeds help support Lehigh’s Relay for Life fund. (Alexis McGowan/B&W Staff)

The American Cancer foundation also helps to house people in Hope Lodges, which are sanitary living environments close to medical care for people going through cancer treatment. Last semester, Colleges Against Cancer went on a field trip to a Hope Lodge where they served Thanksgiving dinner and got to see their hard work pay off.

“I met a wonderful women and her husband,” Klein said. “She needed a bone marrow transplant, yet she was one of the most hopeful people I have ever met.

Co-chair Yara Hanna, ’17, had a close friend that passed away from cancer, which has motivated her to become a part of Colleges Against Cancer.

“Their positive energy helped motivate me to keep going and helping with the (American Cancer Society),” Hanna said.

Klein said that visiting the Hope Lodge was an eye-opening experience. Seeing that the club profits are going to good use was very rewarding to members of the Colleges Against Cancer club.

“We always like to say that it’s nice to get involved,” Klein said. “Whether you have been directly effected or indirectly effected by cancer, you have been affected in some way.”

Klein has been participating in Relay since her freshman year of high school and has continued to bring awareness to the American Cancer Society as a junior in college.

“Our mission is to celebrate the people who are fighting or have lost the battle, to remember those we have lost the battle and fight for those who can’t,” Klein said.

Colleges Against Cancer’s motto is “Celebrate, remember, fight back.”

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