Correction: The print version of this story said that Colleges Against Cancer's original name was Relay for Life until this year. That's inaccurate — it's always been Colleges Against Cancer. The Pendulum regrets the error.
There will be an estimated 1,685,210 new cases of cancer in the year of 2016, according to Cancer.org. Out of that number, there will be nearly 595,690 deaths. While many people think there is not much we can do to lower that number, Colleges Against Cancer is making sure students everywhere can make a difference.
Feb. 26 concluded Elon University's Colleges Against Cancer Paint the Campus Purple event in order to help raise cancer awareness.With the campaign “I paint the campus purple for…” students across campus take initiative in finding a cure.
“Our entire goal is to join together as student faculty to raise awareness for American Cancer Society’s research,” said CAC’s executive director Rachel Fenimore.
The events taking place during Paint the Campus Purple Week were designed to get students thinking about what they can do to help and encourage students to sign up for Relay for Life, a team race designed to raise money for cancer patients. . According to Fenimore, it’s never too early to start preparing.
“It’s a really big support system both at Elon and nationally. Paint the Campus Purple is our way to get people to start thinking about it… to let first years on campus to know that we exist.”
The week began with Pancakes for Paint the Campus Purple Week in Moseley Center. Throughout the week, CAC hosted trivia nights, s’mores with survivors, two profit shares at local Elon restaurants and midnight meals. On the last day, students were encouraged to wear purple to show their support for the American Cancer Society.
Colleges Against Cancer was founded as a part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The organization incorporates any person affected by cancer or who is passionate about the cause who want to stand up and make a difference. ACS CAN hopes to host nation-wide events to ensure that congress makes cancer a national priority.
CAC specifically works with a collaboration of college students, faculty and staff to help dedicate time and create programs on campuses that reflect the mission of the American Cancer Society.
“It is extremely important for any college community to get involved in this issue as much as possible, in the fight to cure cancer," said freshman Katie Gordon. “I’ve seen how far we’ve come in the past decade and I know with the help of organizations like Colleges Against Cancer, we can keep on fighting.”
As a student personally affected by cancer in her family, Gordon believes in the importance of furthered awareness on the effects of cancer.
“Not only are we as college students eager to help, but becoming involved makes us more educated. Maybe one day, someone in this generation will be finding the cure.”
This student-run organization consists of about 100 members, including 16 executive members and 80 committee members.
The organization is now preparing for one of the biggest events of the year, and a national ACS CAN fundraiser, Relay for Life. The event will take place April 22-23 and everyone is encouraged to participate.
Clubs, sororities, fraternities and friends alike sign up in groups to participate. There will be campus a cappella performances, a hypnotist, games and food trucks. The event takes place over 12 hours on the Francis Baseball Field. Participants are welcome to camp out and sleep on the field overnight. For anyone intrested in registering or donating, go to relayforlife.orga and search for the Elon University event.
“Cancer is a difficult thing for a lot of people," Fenimore said. "Everybody is affected by it and I think people feel helpless because it’s hard to wrap our minds around how we can help. We don’t relay for fear of ourselves but for fear of other people. We never want to see people we love get cancer.”
Fenimore says the organization is full of a very passionate group of students, and everyone is working hard to prepare for Relay for Life and create similar events for Elon's campus to get even more involved.
“Colleges Against Cancer is a way we can feel like we are participating in the fight against cancer and do it with support of an entire community,” Fenimore said. “Our door is always open to come talk and get support or share our stories.”