October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness of breast cancer. Each year, charities across the United States work to educate the public about breast cancer and raise money to further research that may allow for the development of more effective treatments. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is expected to have more new cases in 2023 than any other form of cancer, with an estimated 300,590 new cases being anticipated.
Although breast cancer is one of the most common and most well-known cancers, there are many other types of cancer as well. Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is a club at Monmouth University that aims to raise awareness for all types of cancer, demonstrate support for cancer survivors, and raise money to donate to cancer research foundations.
Since every month of the year is dedicated to raising awareness for a different type of cancer, the club holds tabling events each month and educate the campus. For example, this month, Colleges Against Cancer held a pink tabling event for breast cancer awareness.
The club also participates in local fundraisers and events to help the broader Monmouth community. Recently, they held a tabling event in which students made cards to send to a three-year-old girl living in Long Branch who is battling leukemia. At that same event, Colleges Against Cancer also raised $350 which was put towards buying books for pediatric cancer patients in hospitals. The club works directly with the American Cancer Society and also hopes to hold speaker events and bring back Relay for Life here at Monmouth in the future.
Julia Rice, a junior biology student and Vice President of Colleges Against Cancer, has been involved with Relay for Life for several years. Rice said, “I joined Colleges Against Cancer last semester, Spring 2023 because I have always been heavily involved as the event coordinator of the Relay for Life of New Egypt, which is an event to raise money for Cancer Research through the American Cancer Society.”
Rice continued, “I intended to join and continue making a difference with Colleges Against Cancer MU so that no one feels alone in the fight against cancer, and so that one day no one ever has to hear the words ‘You have Cancer’ ever again.”
Many members of the club have personal stories involving cancer, such as sophomore business marketing student and Colleges Against Cancer marketing chair, Chelsea Walsh. Walsh’s aunt was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, but fought resiliently and is now cancer-free!
Walsh said, “Not only do I have a personal story involving cancer, but I am also deeply passionate about spreading cancer awareness and doing everything in my power to help find a cure. Cancer is something no one should ever have to experience, and I pray that one day, no one will.”
Another personal story involving cancer comes from the club’s faculty advisor, Kathy Dabney, who is a Campus Life Assistant in the Office of Student Engagement. Dabney explained, “Colleges Against Cancer holds a very special place in my heart. My daughter is a cancer survivor, and this was a great way to volunteer and help others on this journey. I know personally the daily struggles that cancer patients and their families go through, so if there’s any way that I can help someone else, I want to do it. When my daughter was in the hospital for her treatment, students from the local university visited the pediatric patients. It brought so much joy and laughter to the patients at a very difficult time.”
She added, “After my daughter’s treatment and recovery, we really wanted to reciprocate that here at Monmouth University so I took on the challenge of rebooting the club. We’ve brought awareness back to the campus and have been able to donate to local charities, caregivers, and families. We are looking forward to bringing even more awareness to the campus and to let the community know that they are not alone and we are here to support them in any way that we can.”
Rice expressed, “My favorite thing about Colleges Against Cancer is how rewarding it is to see how much people appreciate the representation of cancer awareness on campus. It often goes unnoticed, however when someone can share a personal experience and is grateful that we do what we do, there is nothing better than hearing the positive impact we are making on campus!”
If you are interested in joining Colleges Against Cancer, reach out on Instagram to @cacmonmouthu.