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Fundraising for cancer cure brings together student club


Grand Haven junior Alyssa Hayward works on organizing committees for the College Against Cancer Leadership team on Sept. 29 at the Student Involvement Center.

Moriah Miltgen has seen the consequences of cancer.

Her uncle recently died from the disease. Miltgen’s aunt is fighting breast cancer for the third time.

Because cancer has affected her family, the Irons junior decided to join the registered student organization Colleges Against Cancer, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Miltgen now works as the organization’s director of growth. She said getting involved with the Central Michigan University group allowed her to help work toward a cure.

“I hope in the future, we’ll just be there to honor the people of the past and honor the survivors,” Miltgen said. “I don’t want people to worry about their relatives with cancer because I want to help put an end to cancer.”

To do that, the group raises awareness about cancer and fundraises for research to find a cure. Fundraisers include on-campus events like Pink Week, Zumba for a Cure and Relay for Life.

“Cancer affects everyone in some kind of way. You don’t have to have some big, sad story to start getting involved,” said Rachel Sulkowski, CAC director of production and Canton junior.

CAC President Alyssa Hayward is majoring in biomedical sciences and hopes to work in cancer research. Hayward said she is lucky to not have a loved one who has fought the disease, but joining CAC gave her a personal connection with cancer survivors she didn’t have before.

“It’s important to realize how fortunate some of us are,” the junior from Grand Haven said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for some students who have to deal with cancer themselves or in their families. I spend time worrying about exams. Hearing people in my own committee and hearing what they’ve gone through has made it so much more important for me.”

Both of the Zeeland junior Amelia Greco’s grandfathers died from cancer. One grandfather died last year after the cancer quickly metastasized to his liver.

“It’s hard to get closure when it happens that fast,” said Greco, a CAC committee member. “I do this for my family. I do it for my friends’ families — I do it because I don’t want anyone to feel that pain.”

CAC wants to start collaborating with other cancer-related groups and organize more on-campus events, Hayward said.

“CAC has changed my whole perspective and it will open your mind about a lot of things,” Hayward said.

The next CAC meeting is at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Education Human Services building, room 230.

“We’re all Chippewas and we’re all one family. We have people losing mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles to cancer. We have fellow Chippewas battling and losing their life to cancer,” Miltgen said. “I think if everyone participated, donated and showed their support, it would make us stronger as a community.”