Cancer research across America will benefit with the help of SIU’s Greek community.
The Inter-Greek Council came together Tuesday to host Salukis for a Cure, an event with two guest speakers from the American Cancer Society – one of them being a cancer survivor. The guests talked about cancer prevention and ways to contribute to the fight against cancer before the council presented the American Cancer Society with a sweepstakes check of $800.
So far, 31 fraternities will participate in the Relay for Life in April, said Ryan Reed, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Relay for Life is one of the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraisers, during which team members take turns walking around a track for 12 hours. By forming and joining teams, individuals can raise awareness and much-needed funding for research and treatments.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council at SIU came together with the intent to host an event to educate and raise awareness about cancer in the student body and community, said Reed, a senior from Flossmoor studying public relations.
After getting together, each fraternity realized it wanted to take part in and work toward donating to the cause, he said.
Alex LaVeille, president of the IFC and a sophomore from Crete studying business, said each council donated $250 from their personal funds to the American Cancer Society.
LaVeille said the IFC gets most of its budget from dues paid each semester by members of the Greek organizations at SIU.
The NPHC receives funding from Undergraduate Student Government and various fundraisers and events held on campus, Reed said.
The Inter-Greek Council, which contains both the IFC and the NPHC, donated $300 of the total $800 given to the ACS during the event in the Student Center Auditorium.
Organizations that host events for a charity must usually pay for the resources.
The expenses for the event included the room reservation, equipment and personnel, which was about $300, according to the Student Center Scheduling Office.
“Anything to help the mission to cure cancer is important,” LaVeille said. “Cancer is something everyone should be educated and aware of.”
According to the ACS, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and one in every three individuals will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.
“It’s so important to reach the younger generations with awareness at the beginning of a flaw,” said Michael Hill, volunteer motivational speaker for the ACS and a cancer survivor. “Trying to educate them on prevention is important because it reflects in their future.”
Any motivational speaker or organization understands that while they are speaking to auditoriums full of individuals, the reality is only a few may be touched, Hill said. The most they can do is provide the information and hope the individuals carry it with them, he said.
“What wins the day is changing just one mind,” he said.
For many students like Reed and LaVeille, cancer is somewhere around them.
LaVeille said both his parents are cancer survivors and Reed, who was personally at risk a year ago, said he has family members that have been affected by cancer as well.
Reed said even students without cancer could still learn a lot about prevention, different treatments and what family members with the disease are going through.
By volunteering, whether students are directly affected by cancer or not, they realize someone in their life may be affected by cancer in the future, Hill said.
“One in three will have cancer and that’s an unfortunate statistic,” Hill said. “But those individuals who are touching the lives of others, that’s a field goal.”