A Sneak Peak: Relay for Life at St. Luke’s

Brody Ebright '25, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the year, Dr. Higgins introduced an amazing service opportunity to the sophomore class that will help a great cause: Relay for Life. Although the student group coordinating the Relay has not picked a specific location or a specific date in the spring, they are looking forward to working together and organizing an event to raise awareness for cancer.

What is Relay for Life? Relay for Life is organized by the American Cancer Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to “improv[ing] the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.” A relay lasts six hours, and the participants take turns lapping a course and raising money at their tents. It is a great bonding experience, as everyone works together towards one common goal: having fun while supporting a good cause. 

The Relay for Life event embodies St. Luke’s mission: Enter to learn, Go forth to serve. With this service project, students will learn about fundraising and take part in changing their community by helping millions around the country. Almost everyone has been affected by cancer in some way, so lots of people can take away meaning from this service project. 

Remembering how successful the Relay for Life had been at his previous school, Dr. Higgins was inspired to bring this experience to  St. Luke’s sophomore class.  While Dr. Higgins is the advisor for Relay for Life, the program will be fully organized by a group of volunteering sophomores. They will plan the Relay around the school schedule, and bring excitement to the service opportunity. Also, the Sophomores will help raise money for Relay for Life.

Dr. Higgins said, “Many students fall behind on their service hours during their sophomore year,” so Relay for Life is a great bonding experience that provides lots of hours. 

The history of Relay for Life is as powerful as the current fundraiser. Dr. Gordon Klatt started the movement Relay for Life. In 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt walked and ran around a track in Tacoma, Washington for 24 hours. He circled 83.6 miles or approximately 332 laps around a track, raising  $27,000 from friends and family, which got donated to the American Cancer Society. While Dr. Klatt initially walked the track alone, now more than three and a half million people across the world join in on the cause. The enormous amount of money he raised during his relay inspired him to start a fundraising organization that would  allow others to share their cancer stories.

In 2012, Dr. Klatt was diagnosed with stomach cancer. During that year, he participated in the same Relay for Life in Tacoma, Washington. He was able to experience the feeling of care and gratitude that he created for millions of cancer survivors.

Relay for Life is especially important to Dr. Higgins, as it is going to have an impact on many students’ lives. He is looking forward to running a team and raising money (and even some Founder’s Cup points). St. Luke’s will be attending The Relay for Life in the Spring of 2023, and hopefully, this new tradition will follow for years to come.