The cancer diagnoses of two faculty members, one staff member and two students at Eastern Maine Community College led the Beta Beta Omicron Chapter to start a fundraising campaign for the American Cancer Society. The result? More than $15,000 collected.
Phi Theta Kappa members present the American Cancer Society with a check for more than $3.6 million during NerdNation 2014.
“So many of us have been touched by cancer, ” said chapter advisor Kim Campbell. “Therefore, we decided to host a Relay For Life event on our campus. We felt it was a way to give back, to help just a little, in our own way.”
Campbell saw participation as having a two-fold purpose: the chapter would be educating the college and community while raising money for a worthy cause; and chapter members would gain the knowledge and the leadership and organizational skills that come with planning a large-scale event.
The Beta Beta Omicron Chapter was the top fundraising Phi Theta Kappa chapter for the American Cancer Society in 2013. Bake sales, raffles and a bingo night contributed to the chapter’s success. The chapter also had 15 teams and almost 200 participants in its campus’ Relay For Life.
The 2013 Top 10 fundraising chapters raised more than $76,000 for the American Cancer Society. Since 2002, Phi Theta Kappa chapters have raised more than $3.6 million for the American Cancer Society. It is a partnership that has exceeded expectations in terms of chapter involvement and community impact, and it is the longest and most robust partnership that the nonprofit has had with a member-based organization.
“We are so impressed with the level of continued commitment Phi Theta Kappa members invest in our fight against cancer and are inspired by their enthusiasm and genuine philanthropy,” said Kristen Solt, Vice President of the Hope Lodge Network with the American Cancer Society. “There is a spirit of service within Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Cancer Society is honored to count Phi Theta Kappa as a true partner in our work.
“That spirit is vital to tackling the problem of cancer, and Phi Theta Kappa members, as ACS ambassadors and leaders in their communities, enhance and extend the fight in hometowns across the country and the world.”
The Alpha Rho Gamma Chapter at Washington State Community College in Ohio raised more than $10,500 through community-wide events such as spaghetti dinners, craft fairs and bake sales. Chapter members also raise money individually – one raised over $500 on Facebook alone.
“Making the Relay For Life the signature event for our chapter has brought our chapter closer together,” said advisor Brad Merritt. “Moreover, it provides a bonding experience for our chapter leaders.”
It’s important to note that this partnership does indeed go both ways. The American Cancer Society sponsors Educational Forums during Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Convention.
“We are incredibly grateful to partner with the American Cancer Society,” said Courtney Taylor, Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Giving and Alumni Relations Coordinator. “The support they provide allows our members to learn how to be better global citizens.”
Cancer touches millions of lives each year. According to the American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts and Figures 2014,” more than 1.6 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed this year. Cancer is expected to kill almost 1,600 a day this year.
The good news is that more people are surviving cancer, thanks to progress in diagnosing certain cancers earlier and to improvements in treatments. According to the ACS, the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2003 and 2009 is 68 percent, up from 49 percent in 1975-1977.
Participation in American Cancer Society fundraising events has more than tripled since the Alpha Nu Omega Chapter at Harrisburg-Area Community College-Lancaster campus in Pennsylvania founded a Relay For Life team in 2011. In 2013, the chapter raised more than $9,000 for the ACS through community nights at local restaurants, prom dress sales and other similar events.
“I think our membership has grown in its acceptance and understanding of social problems in our area and in areas beyond our immediate reach,” said Jennifer St. Pierre, Alpha Nu Omega chapter advisor and founding Relay team advisor (Lancaster Campus). “We have received support from numerous members of the faculty and staff and have been touched by stories of loss and triumph included in our membership.
“Each year we are growing and having a greater impact at our college, on our campuses and in our communities.”
Michael Shoemaker, one of the chapter’s executive board members and a cancer survivor, expressed interest in forming a campus-based Relay For Life team at the Lancaster campus in 2011. Just two years later, the event had grown to include four of the college’s campuses.
“Helping with Relay For Life was a valuable exercise in giving of our chapter’s time and efforts, both to the college community and to the wider world,” said Cathy Itnyre, co-advisor of the Beta Rho Pi Chapter at Copper Mountain College in California, which raised nearly $7,400.
The Beta Rho Pi Chapter assists with fundraising efforts for the college’s Relay For Life team – Team CMC – by holding events such as bake sales. Chapter President Eva Chavez said continuing with the fundraising will be a priority for the chapter again this year.
“The close partnership with Team CMC will remain an important factor for our chapter in the future,” she said. “Our college is participating in Relay For Life annually, and our chapter always does its best to help raise as many funds for cancer research as possible.”
Has your chapter participated in a Relay For Life event? Tell us about it! The reporting deadline is September 15.