Kar Wei Cheng
More than 100 students and community members gathered on Friday night in Zorn Arena to partake in the inaugural “Hope in Motion” fundraising event, hosted by UW-Eau Claire’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) organization.
Aisia Ackard, a junior elementary education student and co-president of CAC, said CAC recently chose to step away from the the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) “Relay for Life,” opting to create their own fundraising event.
Friday’s Dr. Seuss-themed festivities featured a series of guest speakers who have survived or have been affected by cancer, games, trivia, concessions and “survivor laps” around the gymnasium. Different collegiate organizations and local community members offered their own booths at Hope in Motion, serving baked goods, mixing alcohol-free margaritas or leading different crafts.
Though Hope in Motion is a long, late-running event, Ackard said every minute is worth it, as it creates an opportunity for the community to get involved.
“Whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, business owners — whether it’s your roommate, other student organizations on campus, or sports teams — it’s so important to have events like these,” Ackard said. “Without them, cancer research doesn’t advance, survivors and caregivers don’t get the quality care that they need, and this cycle of people getting diagnosed with cancer just continues.”
All proceeds went to the Marshfield Cancer Clinic. In the past, CAC’s raised funds went to the ACS. Because the organization has since established its own event, CAC was able to select a local business to donate to this year, Ackard said.
Ackard, who said she has been involved with CAC for three years, spoke of her own personal experiences with cancer, recounting some of the hardships she had faced as different loved ones fought the devastating disease. She said events like Hope in Motion serve to bring people who have something in common together.
“I wanted to turn my anger and sadness into something more productive, and turn that into motivation and dedication, so that others don’t ever have to go through something like this,” Ackard said. “Go help a neighbor, go help out in a local hospital — just help out in whatever way you can, because when we come together as a community and we come together as one, we’re stronger.”
Beanna Prock, a junior healthcare administration student and executive board member of CAC, also shared a personal connection with Friday’s event; her mother passed away from cancer three years ago.
“Without support and all the care that my mom received, it wouldn’t have been possible for her to live as long as she did,” Prock said. “Support is such a big thing. Cancer patients are going through the hardest fight of their life, and without support, it’s just really hard for them to fight.”
Events like Hope in Motion and Relay for Life provide communities members with an opportunity to get involved and donate their time and money to a good cause, Prock said. Likewise, Prock said organizations like CAC offer students a family-like group that advocates for a common cause.
Julia Johnson, a junior elementary and special education student, represented Delta Zeta sorority at Hope in Motion, along with different representatives from Eau Claire Greek Life. As a collective community, the Greek Life women served beverages at the event, while the Greek Life men sold various treats.
Johnson said she believes that Hope in Motion creates a good opportunity for everyone to work together. She emphasized the point that everyone is affected by cancer to some degree, even people “our age.”
“(Hope in Motion is) a good way to get involved, as well as show support for such a good cause; especially just because Colleges Against Cancer supports so many different types of cancer, rather than just specific ones,” Johnson said.