By Katie Ziemba
Union’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) organization has taken on raising awareness and funds for cancer patients. Colleges Against Cancer president Maria Dreeszen ‘14 said that this year, “one of our main focuses is Kristen Shinebarger, a ten-year-old member of our campus community who is bravely battling Ewing’s sarcoma.”
Kristen’s mother, Shelly Shinebarger, is Director of Union’s Student Support Services, and many members of Union’s community have been touched and affected by Kristen’s story.
Due to the severity of Kristen’s illness, she recently underwent an amputation of her leg. Prosthetic limbs are extremely expensive, and since Kristen is ten years old and still growing, her family will have to continue to purchase Kristen new prosthesis each year. This year, Colleges Against Cancer’s “main goal is to raise as much money as possible to help [Kristen] get a prosthetic leg and to let her know that our campus is thinking about her,” said Dreeszen. Currently, CAC has an event called “Ribbons for Kristen” that is being held in Reamer. The group is selling yellow ribbons (the awareness color of Ewing’s sarcoma) that will go towards helping Kristen.
Starting on Wednesday, October 24, CAC will be holding sign-ups for their annual event, “Trick Cancer, Treat Your Friends.” For a donation of at least two dollars, students can send a bag of candy to a friend from a “secret admirer.” When the candy receivers come to pick up their treats on Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, they must match the donated amount in order to learn who their “secret admirer” is. Profits from this event will benefit Kristen. CAC would also like to “turn Halloween yellow” for Kristen by asking the whole cam-pus community to wear yellow on Halloween. The club also plans to film the group of supporters sending encouraging messages to Kristen. Through these endeavors, CAC hopes that this unified crowd will boost Kristen’s spirit and let her know that the entire campus supports her.
CAC has many fundraising ideas for this year, including a Polar Plunge to be held during winter term. The group plans to place a pool in the middle of campus and have students fundraise at least 50 dollars to be able to jump in the icy water. Dreeszen remarked, “it should be a great way to raise a lot of money and bring our campus together!”
For the spring, Dreeszen said CAC “will be continuing our efforts to help Kristen by planning some kind of Union all-night spectacular,” where students can participate in many different kinds of activities. These activities will include everything from sports, board games, word games and relay races. “The goal is to have an all-night event that the entire student body, staff and faculty can participate in to raise money and support Kristen,” said Dreeszen. CAC wants everyone on campus to get involved in this event: Greek life, the athletic department, the academic departments, theme houses, Minerva houses, etc.
Though Colleges Against Cancer is mainly focused on supporting Kristen this year, Dreeszen wants people to know that they “plan on doing some breast cancer awareness events during October.”
Though uncertain of event specifics, Dreeszen said that there will be a table set up in Reamer where members will “hand out pamphlets that have useful information for college students, such as how to do a self-check [for breast cancer].” Dreeszen also wants students to know that CAC is always looking for “dedicated students who are passionate about fighting cancer,” and to contact her or Kaitlyn Suarez ’15 for more information about getting involved.