Lehigh’s Colleges Against Cancer club held their annual Relay for Life event on March 25 at Grace Hall, from 3 p.m. to midnight.
Relay for Life is the biggest fundraising event that Colleges Against Cancer holds each year. This was the first year since 2019 that Relay for Life was fully in person again, after being virtual for two years due to COVID-19.
Noah Gibson, ‘22, development chair for Colleges Against Cancer said he participated in his first Relay for Life last year.
“Even though we hadn’t raised as much as years prior, it was one of the most rewarding feelings,” Gibson said. “My family has been affected by cancer and just knowing that I helped make a difference and that other people coming to support helped make a difference, filled my heart with joy and there was no better feeling I could’ve gotten.”
Adam Graff, ‘22, co-president of the club said only seniors have seen the event in person in years past, making this year’s event a new experience for many in the Lehigh community. Because of the prolonged pause of in-person events, Graff said Colleges Against Cancer had to reference pictures from prior events and heavily advertise so students could know what the event was supposed to look like.
Graff said Colleges Against Cancer’s primary goal is to bring the Lehigh community together to fight against cancer, raise money and enjoy each of the events hosted during Relay for Life including performances and games taking place throughout the night.
Lehigh had 26 teams sign up and participate in Relay for Life. Each of these teams were given booths at the event in which they could provide activities and ask for donations.
“Each table will have their own game to liven up the energy and the environment as a whole, so we’re all supporting one another and having a great time,” Graff said. “Relay for Life is not a depressing time, it’s celebrating how much money we’ve raised to battle cancer and celebrate those we know who have beaten it.”
In addition to each of the team’s booths, several Lehigh musical and dance groups performed during the event.
Gibson said he reached out to large organizations and groups on campus including Greek life organizations, orientation leaders, Student Senate and University Productions to provide entertainment or donations.
Phi Sigma Kappa was one of the top teams for donations, having raised over $20,000.
“I think most of our success was by reaching out to family and also telling those people that we reached out to to continue sending the link out to people they know, so we developed a pretty big network,” said Julian Brooks, ‘24, Phi Sigma Kappa philanthropy chair.
Gibson said at the last in-person Relay for Life in the spring of 2019, Colleges Against Cancer raised over $100,000, but holding the event virtually the past two years proved to be a challenge for collecting donations.
This year, Graff said Colleges Against Cancer’s original donation goal was $60,000, and later increased it to $80,000 after exceeding their initial goal. They have raised nearly $85,000.
“We’re usually in the Top 10 for most money raised for the American Cancer Society, and for a small school that is so impressive,” Graff said. “The fact that we can come together as a small school and show what really matters as a community and come together and donate to fight against such a big problem in this world has such a huge emotional impact to everyone involved in the club and is a huge reward.”