Union joins Team Truax

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By Emily Brower

Campus and ΓΦΒ raise money for Kate Truax ‘04, victim of leukemia

Team Truax, organized by high school student Margaret Capizzi, is raising money for the National Capital Area’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in remembrance of Kate Truax ’04.

Truax was a member of Union’s  Class of 2004 and a sister of the Epsilon Epsilon chapter of Gamma Phi Beta.

Kate Truax, above, is a 2004 Union College graduate and sister of Gamma Phi Beta. Truax passed away from leukemia at the age of 30. Kate Truax, above, is a 2004 Union College graduate and sister of Gamma Phi Beta.

Truax, who taught at a middle school in the Maryland area, passed away from leukemia in December 2012. Capizzi, one of Truax’s former students, has organized this fundraiser through LLS’s Student of the Year fundraising competition. The competition gives high school students in the Washington, D.C. area six weeks to raise $50,000 by Feb. 28 to secure a research grant from LLS.

According to Capizzi, the end goal is to achieve a named research grant for Truax. If Team Truax does not reach $50,000, all proceeds will still benefit research for leukemia and other blood cancers.

So far, Team Truax has raised over $20,000 since Jan. 16. Seven high schools in Washington, D.C. and Maryland are involved with the campaign.

“We knew that many of our former classmates would want to work with us on this cause because Ms. Truax was close to all of us and we all miss her,” explained Capizzi.

Additionally, Capizzi reach-ed out to the Union community for the campaign because of Truax’s relationship to the college.

“We all know about Union because of Ms. Truax. She told us often how much she loved it. She always told us stories of her time there and her college friends would sometimes come and visit our classes. We associate Union College with Ms. Truax,” said Capizzi.

“We decided that since Union was such a special place for Ms. Truax, we should reach out and let you know about our effort. We were really excited to hear back from Union and Ms. Truax’s sorority, Gamma Phi, and we are so happy to have Union involved in this cause,” she continued.

Gamma Phi’s former Public Relations Vice President Gabriella Levine ’14 set up a Go-Fund Me account to spread the Team Truax cause among the Union community and to make donations easily accessible to Union faculty, students and alumni.

“A great aspect of our organization is that we have a strong sense of community regardless of when each sister graduated or what chapter she was a part of,” said President of Gamma Phi Marisa Thurin ’15.

“Union College is such a close community that continually shows support to those who need it,” said former President of Gamma Phi Elise DiMeo ’14. “It is important that we act and help one of our fellow students.”[media-credit id=1 align=’alignleft’ width=’720′]Lo weding II

From left: Meghann Glavin, Jenny Huftalen, Kate Truax, Kate Williams (Swartz), Alison Fredheim, all members of the Class of 2004. 

Truax’s friends and fellow peers from Union have expressed fond memories of their college years.

Emily Horsford ‘04 became friends with Truax during their freshman year. Horsford, a sister of Gamma Phi, lived with Truax in Hickok House. “Always with an artist’s eye, Kate would cover every inch of her wall with photos, paintings, and artwork that she loved,” she recalled. Horsford also reminisced on their time together studying in Florence, Italy.  “Kate and I took a special trip to the gorgeous and remote Isola del Giglio, where we spent our time relaxing on the beach and enjoying amazing seafood,“ Horsford explained.

Alumni from the Class of 2004 have donated a significant amount thus far on the Go-Fund Me page.

“I have been blown away by the level of generosity shown by those who have made donations so far,” Levine stated. “It’s incredible to see firsthand the positive impact that the Union community can have in raising awareness for both Kate Truax and efforts to find the cure,” she continued.

Gamma Phi’s Go-Fund Me page has raised $3,360 in seven days, as of press time. Their goal is $5,000 by Feb. 11.

In addition to the Go-Fund Me page, Public Relations Vice President Julia Tierney ’15 explained that Gamma Phi will continue raising money by tabling in the Reamer Campus Center for Team Truax. “We will be selling bows in multiple colors and styles, the majority being orange for leukemia awareness. We also have bows that are color coordinated for the Greek organizations on campus, but anyone can purchase whichever color they choose. In addition to hair bows we have small leukemia awareness ribbons that can be pinned to backpacks for a small donation,” Tierney stated.

“Even donating just the cost of a cup of coffee makes a difference,” said DiMeo. “So I urge people to give whatever they can.”

Capizzi now officially considers Union as a part of Team Truax, and expressed her gratitude for the college’s assistance in honor of Truax.

“We are amazed at the generosity coming from your school. We can see why Ms. Truax loved her college. Thank you for being part of Team Truax and helping us remember Ms. Truax and raise research funds for LLS,” said Capizzi.

Brittany Hyde ‘04 remembers Truax as a woman who enjoyed dancing. “She loved to dance!” Hyde said, “ To the very end she refused to let her illness define her, always looking to what the future would bring, never giving up.  I admire her so much for her tenacity and spirit, always a smile no matter what the day may bring.”

To donate to Team Truax, visit http://www.gofundme.com/support-team-truax.

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