Relay For Life brings WUSTL community together in fight against cancer

11th annual event to be held April 13-14

Washington University in St. Louis will host its 11th annual Relay For Life, the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, from 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, to 6 a.m. Sunday, April 14, on Francis Field. The 12-hour, overnight walk-a-thon is symbolic: cancer doesn’t sleep — and neither will participants working to combat the disease.

Luminaria bags — each bearing the name of either an individual who has battled cancer or a caregiver — will illuminate Francis Field as volunteers make a silent lap in memory and in honor of loved ones. Luminaria are available online at for a $5 donation.

Throughout the evening, teams of participants will camp out around the track; members of each team will take turns walking laps. Food and refreshments, ranging from Pi Pizza to Einstein Bros. Bagels, will be available at no charge to registered participants. Student a cappella groups, bands and dancers, along with other teams, will fundraise by providing ongoing entertainment and activities throughout the night. Also, the much-anticipated second annual “Silent Rave” will be held on the track at midnight. The WUSTL event is entirely organized by the student-led Relay For Life Steering Committee.

To date, more than 1,340 participants have registered on 171 teams, and that number is expected to increase as the event draws near. Registration will be open through April 13; students, faculty and members of the community can sign up to walk or make a donation either to an individual, a team, or the event in general, at The fundraising goal is $251,053; so far, more than $152,000 has been raised.

There are several faculty and staff teams participating at the event this year, including one headed by Risa Zwerling Wrighton, wife of Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton and a four-year adviser in the College of Arts & Sciences. The Wrightons will donate $10 for every faculty and staff member who registers.

Those who would like to attend the event as a visitor are asked to make a $20 donation to gain entry. The opening ceremony begins at 6 p.m. with a Survivor Lap – an opportunity for survivors to celebrate what they have overcome.

Students are needed to organize and recruit teams, seek community support, coordinate logistics, find refreshments and prizes, plan entertainment and lend their support in any way. For more information, or to volunteer, email: or visit