Alpha Epsilon Delta, the Pre-Professional Health Honor Society, raised over $200 for the Kortney Rose Foundation during the third annual Kiss Brain Cancer Goodbye Fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 28 in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC).
Those who donated at least $1 to the cause were able to fill out a pink piece of paper featuring an image of a pair of lips that read, “[person’s name] Helped Kiss Brain Cancer Goodbye.” These papers are currently hanging in the window by the entrance to Edison Hall in a heart-shaped formation. This fundraiser is usually held on Valentine’s Day but was postponed this year due to the snow.
Alpha Epsilon Delta also held a bake sale and sold bracelets and flowers in conjunction with accepting donations.
Kristen Gillette, secretary of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, created the Kortney Rose Foundation in 2006 after a rare brain tumor caused the death of her nine-year-old daughter. According to the foundation’s website, thekortneyrosefoundation.org, the nonprofit organization “is dedicated to raising funds to support research and education related to the treatment and cure of pediatric brain tumors.”
“Most people don’t know that brain tumors are the number one tumor cause of death in children 20 and under,” said Gillette.
According to the American Brain Tumor Association’s (ABTA) official website, there are two types of brain tumors: primary brain tumors, which begin in the brain and tend to stay in the brain, and metastatic brain tumors, which begin as cancer elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain. Primary brain tumors are much more prominent in children. ABTA’s website also stated that in 2013, approximately 4,300 children younger than age 20 were diagnosed with primary brain tumors, of which 3,050 were under age 15.
Regardless of the fact that brain tumors are the cause of death for thousands of young children every year, Gillette explained, less than four percent of the entire research budget comes to all forms of pediatric cancer, whereas adult cancers receive 96 percent.
As a result of the lack of research on brain tumors, previous Alpha Epsilon Delta president, Bryan Martin, decided three years ago to host the Kiss Brain Cancer Goodbye Fundraiser.
The honor society’s current president, Shayna Popkin, a senior biology major, feels just as strongly about the cause as Martin did. “As a member of the close-knit Monmouth community, I cannot think of any better organization to raise money for. Not only are we helping support pediatric brain cancer research, we are also supporting an important member and co-worker of Monmouth University,” said Popkin.
Popkin described the students involved in the honor society as people who “live a life devoted to helping others.” By putting such a large effort into their fundraising events, those who are a part of this honor society were able to contribute to a worthy cause and fulfill their desire to help those who need it, she explained.
Michael Napkori, a junior psychology major and the current Vice President of Alpha Epsilon Delta, feels it is important to support the Kortney Rose Foundation. “…As future leaders of healthcare, it is important to help out in any way that we can.”
Gillette, who established the foundation named after her daughter as a way to “channel her grief into something positive,” sincerely hopes to make a difference for all of the people whose lives have been negatively impacted by pediatric brain cancer.
“With the help of local NJ legislators, a resolution was written up and passed in 2009 naming May as Brain Tumor Awareness Month in the state of NJ,” explained Gillette.
This year, the Political Science Club, the Sociology Club, and the Student Government Association (SGA) will be sponsoring the fifth annual Kortney Rose Foundation 5K on Friday, May 2 at 1 pm.
To donate or learn more about the Kortney Rose Foundation, visit thekortneyrosefoundation.org.
PHOTO COURTESY of Shayna Popkin