Relay For Life steps off at Francis Field April 11​​​

​Annual event raises money for cancer reseach and outreach

Relay For Life co-chair Stephanie Ostroff is not a cancer survivor. Nor has anyone in her immediate family suffered from the disease.

Still, Ostroff will join hundreds of Washington University in St. Louis students, faculty and staff impacted by cancer on Saturday, April 11, at the 13th Relay for Life, the university’s annual overnight fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

“My freshman floor made a team and it was a very special night for me,” said Ostroff, a senior at Olin Business School. “It was very meaningful for me to see how so many people came together to support one another.

“And it was fun too – the dancing, the games. Even though I hadn’t personally been touched by cancer, I connected to the message and found a community,” she said.

Relay For Life steps off at 6 p.m. April 11 and runs through 6 a.m. Sunday, April 12. Highlights include performances from Mama’s Pot Roast, WU Sauce and the Stereotypes, and games such as tug of war, Twister and dodgeball.

Ostroff and co-chair Connie Ho, a senior at Olin Business School, hope to raise some $200,000 for the American Cancer Society. In the past 12 years, Relay For Life at Washington University has raised $2 million for cancer research and support. Much of that money has funded the work of Siteman Cancer Center and other St. Louis institutions.

Ho’s favorite part of the event is the after-dark ceremony in which participants remember those lost to cancer by lighting decorated luminaria along the track.

“It’s a definitely very moving and powerful,” said Ho, whose father died of pancreatic cancer. “People kneel down by the luminaria they’ve made to reflect on the people in their lives that they have lost.

“For me, it’s been wonderful coming together with people with their own stories and struggles. It’s almost been like having a small support group on campus.”

To learn more about Relay For Life or to register, visit​.