Colleges Against Cancer Looks to Raise Awareness on Campus

Members of Colleges against Cancer club get together for relay for life last year. Contributed by Colleges against Cancer Club.

For more than five years, the Colleges Against Cancer organization at the University of Rhode Island have made it their mission to raise as much money as possible for cancer research and care of cancer patients.   

The National Institute of Health reports that approximately 1.8 million individuals in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2019. The most common cancer diagnosis is breast cancer, which will see about 271,270 new cases this year and consist of both men and women.

In Rhode Island, lung and bronchial is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Rhode Island. Between 1995 and 2015, the number of cancer deaths was 2,330 each year or 190 per 10,0000 Rhode Islanders. 

“Everyone is touched by cancer,” said junior Braylee Wardwell, secretary of  URI’s Colleges Against Cancer. “It is important that we do whatever we can as college students to raise awareness and money to benefit the people in need.”

According to a 2017 CBS News poll, 54 percent of Americans say they or someone else in their immediate family has been diagnosed with cancer at some point. Typically, cancer is more prevalent in older adults over the age of 50. Women are more likely to report a cancer diagnosis in their family than men. 

The URI Colleges Against Cancer organization plans on donating the money they raise at the end of every semester, and want to try fundraising differently than previous years. The group will start fundraising in October and hopes to host a paint night or basketball tournament along with other smaller events. 

“We may try and sell food in the Memorial Union, just to get our name out there,” said Wardwell. 

In the past, the club has given money to the American Cancer society, but they are open to donating to other organizations as well. 

“Our primary purpose is to raise money for cancer organizations,” said President of URI Colleges Against Cancer, Dalia Rajah. “At the end of each  semester we will all come together to decide where we want to donate what we have raised.”

Something the URI Colleges Against Cancer organization tries to do every year is host a Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is a fundraiser created by the American Cancer society and is dedicated to helping communities attack cancer. Anyone can participate through funds donated, time given, or awareness raised. Rajah remembers doing Relay for Life in high school, which helped to inspire her to join the club in college. 

As of now, the club does not have a set goal of how much they want to raise. 

“We just hope to beat the number of each previous semester,” said Rajah. 

The group consists of about 20 members but they are always welcome to more. They meet every Thursday at 7 p.m. in room 360 of the Memorial Union. The club is always looking for ways to improve their organization and methodology. 

“We’re willing to partner with any other organizations on campus to fundraise,” said Wardwell. “We are always open to new suggestions,” said Wardwell.