This past weekend, a team of USF alumni, faculty and current students took part in celebrating the culmination of a long fundraising campaign that will help St. Jude’s Walk/RUN to End Childhood Cancer campaign. The team, which was led by alumni and ROTC program administrator Laura Carney, included many new faces from last year’s team which raised close to $2,500 for the hospital.
Carney, who led last year’s team, was non-committal to the idea that this could become a USF tradition, as it is only the second time they represented the school at this event. She laughed and said “We’ll see,” although last year she was a little more optimistic. “The fundraiser establishes camaraderie among all the USF community,” said Carney who, at the time, promised to “build a tradition that we can keep rolling on in future years.”
Based on last year’s final total, the team decided to set a goal of $3,000 for this year, even though some of their biggest contributors from last year have departed USF. Some familiar faces returned, however, with Sam Matsunaga, who works at the ITS Help Desk, making sure photography duties were covered.
The team had doubled the members from last year, with many of the recruits walking and fundraising in the name of family members and friends who have lived through the disease, like sophomore Elyse Rose, whose grandfather had cancer. Sophomore Tyrone Virginio said “It’s deep, it hits everybody and everyone has someone who has gone through [cancer].”
The goal of $3,000 unfortunately has not been met, with the team surpassing $2000 mark, although donations are still being accepted for one more week.
Nearly 16,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year in the U.S., and one in five of those children will not survive. Donations are used to cover approximately 75 percent of St. Jude’s budget costs and create treatments that have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since St. Jude opened more than 50 years ago. Donations also cover the cost of treatment, travel, housing and food for patients and their families. The St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer will take place in 60 cities nationwide this September.
PHOTO COURTESY OF LAURA CARNEY