The Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is a campus club that is supported by the American Cancer Society (ACS). CAC works to represent its community: They’re committed to honoring those who are fighting or have fought cancer. Colleges Against Cancer E-board members, Noelle Gaska ’21, a forensic psychology major, Kyla Jacobs ’21, a biology major, Eric Szillus ’21, a biology major, and Abby Pauli 23, a childhood education and special education major, took the time to answer our questions about the passion behind CAC.
Tell me about the history behind Colleges Against Cancer at Saint Rose?
Colleges Against Cancer is an affiliate of the American Cancer Society (ACS). This means that the fundraising money we raise goes toward the ACS as well as helps fund our own club for future activities/events. Although we’re an affiliate of the ACS, we represent the entire Saint Rose community, and our events reflect our own student body as well as all those who are fighting/have fought cancer.
What would you say is the initial inspiration behind running this club?
We view running the club as not only a way to be involved on campus, but also as a way to represent and honor those who are fighting or have fought cancer. We all have personal ties to those who have suffered: family members, friends, and loved ones, all lost to cancer, or who have fought cancer and survived. When we meet for Colleges Against Cancer, we feel we’re making a significant contribution; even though we’re a relatively small school. We understand every little bit of effort and planning helps to push the needle towards ending cancer for good, and in that, there is no greater inspiration.
What are the activities the club does?
As a club, we do many different activities. In the spring, our main activity is Relay for Life. All year we are doing different types of fundraisers, trying to raise money for cancer awareness, like bake sales, bingo nights, trivia nights, and luminaria bag decorating. In the fall, we have a week in October we call “Pink Week,” which is when we decorate the campus pink and do a bunch of activities to bring awareness to breast cancer. Each month, we also recognize the cancer of the month and take a picture as a group wearing the color to show our support.
What do regular meetings look like, and when and where do you meet?
Regular meetings are on Zoom (Meeting code: 660 062 6068) on Tuesdays at 4 p.m., and we usually just hang out and talk about ways to advocate for others, ways we can fundraise more, and ways to involve the community more in our activities. We talk about what we can do as a club to make a difference, and what we can do to make others more aware.
How do you educate others?
Educating others requires the need to be informative, yet engaging to all people who are listening. Events like fundraisers and our annual Relay for Life, as well as its accompanying fundraiser in the Fall semester, allow us to incorporate information with fun. We try to make sure people who show up to events are going to have a great time while also learning more about protecting themselves, their families, and their friends from cancer. Even raising awareness about cancer screenings is critical, and the more people who are aware of their health will be better off in the long term.
What are some goals the club achieved that make you guys proud?
Raising thousands of dollars for Relay for Life every year, having a successful pink week every October to raise awareness for breast cancer, having a successful GASO event to show our fight against smoking, and having a talent show called Relay Royalty every fall semester to kick-start Relay for Life and get everyone excited for the Spring semester.
What would you say continues to be the driving force behind CAC?
The main driving force behind CAC is to help find a cure for cancer. We have many fundraisers that donate money to the American Cancer Society. Most of the people involved in CAC have known a loved one who has been affected by cancer. We want to create a safe space on campus for students who may need our support. We also like to help survivors on campus and in the local area. Oftentimes, many survivors and caregivers of survivors feel lonely in the fight against cancer. We want to be a space that allows people to know they are not alone.
What are some of your 2021 goals for CAC?
Other major goals are to raise awareness about cancer and raise money for cancer research. We are still planning a virtual Relay for Life, so we will be fundraising for that and planning something special for the survivors and caregivers since they usually get a special lap and dinner at Relay. We are also planning on creating penpals for volunteers, survivors, and caregivers. Attached is the google form if anyone is interested in becoming a pen pal.