The American Cancer Society (ACS) will celebrate a milestone birthday Wednesday, May 22, but not without birthday festivities organized by the Franklin County Relay for Life.

To celebrate the ACS’s 100th birthday, the Franklin County Relay for Life committee is encouraging people to participate in a nationwide luminaria ceremony.

Each person’s luminaria bag should be set out on the eve of the birthday, Tuesday, May 21, outside their home, at any time.

“This is to help us light up the world with a passion to finish the fight,” said Wendy Wildberger, Relay chairman. Wildberger said she feels “energized” in knowing people all over the nation will join together in the luminiaria bag event to help put an end to cancer.

When the American Cancer Society was formed, almost all cancer patients succumbed to the disease.

“Physicians sometimes did not tell their patients they had cancer, and patients often did not tell their friends and families if they had been diagnosed,” the ACS said in a press release. “One hundred years ago, we bravely started the fight of a lifetime. Now it’s time to boldly join together to finish the fight.”

As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society knows how important each and every birthday can be.

“From deadly to treatable, from treatable to preventable: The progress we’ve helped make in the past 100 years is remarkable — we believe more than any other cancer-fighting organization on the planet,” the release says.

“During the last 100 years, we’ve learned that cancer thrives on silence, complacency, and business as usual. Progress comes when we speak out, when we make noise. Because silence won’t finish the fight – action will.

“Our own 100th birthday is not a time to rest; it’s a time to take more action. It’s a time to embark on our most ambitious challenge yet. We are determined to make this cancer’s last century.”

The birthday will serve as a purpose driven celebration to celebrate the society’s past success and focus on moving forward to end the disease.

Luminaria Celebration

To get a luminaria bag for the birthday celebration, people may call Wildberger at 636-297-1000.

“I think it’s a great achievement to see the progress that the American Cancer Society has made,” Wildberger said. “I can imagine what the next 100 years will hold for the ACS. The ACS is determined to make sure this is cancer’s last century, and I will make sure to do my part as well.”

The May team captain’s meeting also will center around the birthday celebration. The meeting is set for Monday, May 20, at 6 p.m., at the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Center.

During the meeting, a short video will be shown. Anyone wanting to learn more about the Relay is welcome to attend, Wildberger said.

The Franklin County Relay for Life is in its 18th year.

For more information on the Franklin County Relay for Life event or forming a team, people may visit, contact Wildberger or email