Communities #hugaheathen for Cancer Research


By Sam Shore

Since the beginning of the month, humanist communities across the United States have been raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in a unique way. Participating in Hug an Atheist Week, organized groups of nontheists have been proffering a warm embrace in exchange for a small donation to LLS.

Not only has this led to hundreds of dollars raised for blood cancer research and treatment, it has also been an opportunity for humanist organizations to share an afternoon with their local communities and break down stigmas about the nonreligious. Through conversations with passersby about why the humanist community is supporting LLS, groups like the Illini Secular Student Alliance feel like they’ve made an impact on the way the average person on their campus feels about organized groups for the nonreligious.


Above, Critical Thinkers, Humanists, & Unbelievers at Lawrence University participates.

Student groups have even more reasons to be excited to get involved. Campus organizations affiliated with the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry On Campus who participated in Hug an Atheist and made a video will be receiving a $100 grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation to help them cover the cost of materials for the event.

It isn’t just student groups getting involved, however. Triangle Freethought Society in North Carolina set up a booth for Hug an Atheist at the Durham Gay Pride festival. Together, the group raised more than $300 for LLS in an afternoon by selling hugs for $1, group hugs for $5, and Christian Side Hugs for 50 cents.

Hug an Atheist Triangle Freethought Society

You can join these communities in reaching our goal of $500,000 raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society by the end of the year through creating or joining a Light The Night cancer walk team. Together, the humanist community can support the cancer research and patient care that speak to our shared values. The first $250,000 raised will be matched 100% by the Stiefel family.