A student organization at New Mexico State University has raised hundreds of dollars over the past year to raise cancer awareness and provide support to those who have survived the potentially deadly disease.
But along with raising money, members of the Voice Against Cancer student organization at NMSU have often found themselves providing emotional support to those who have fought the disease, or those with a loved one stricken with cancer.
Voice Against Cancer president Vijaya Kumar Pandey, a computer science student graduating with his master’s degree this Saturday, said the organization has about 20 active members who are involved with fundraising and manning a table every month at Corbett Center. The organization’s table features information on a different cancer every month.
“Cancer impacts all of us,” Pandey said. “It may impact us today or tomorrow. It’s a very unpredictable disease.”
Over the past year, the organization has raised close to $700. Some of the money is donated during the organization’s participation in the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Each year, the organization identifies a cause to support locally and internationally. This year, members chose pediatric cancer patients, and raised money for patients at the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque, and a children’s hospital in Juárez. In the past, the organization raised money for cervical cancer screenings in Nepal and Tanzania.
Members of the student organization have also visited Nepal and Tanzania to get a first-hand look at how the money they raised is helping people in those countries. On April 30, two members visited the Juárez children’s hospital and gave out gifts to about 80 patients. And the organization donated $200 to AggieTHON, another student organization that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network.
In the past, members have also raised money to buy supplies for cancer patients in need and sent holiday cards to patients. Pandey said that while members man the table every month, people often stop by to talk about their experiences with cancer, whether as a survivor or as someone who knows someone else with the disease.
“They’ll see us tabling and share their feelings,” Pandey said. “It makes us happy because we’re showing support to survivors and the people fighting against cancer.”
Students of any major can become members of the organization, which meets monthly.
“A lot of investment is needed for cancer research,” said Cynthia Kratzke, associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the College of Health and Social Services and faculty adviser for the organization. “If we continue to support that research along with the patients, then hopefully one day we will win the battle against cancer.”
For more information about Voice Against Cancer, visit http://web.nmsu.edu/~4cancer/
Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU