Many students at Boise State University have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer, though it may not be obvious.
The Colleges Against Cancer club, or Relay for Life at Boise State, focuses on raising awareness for cancer survivors and those affected by cancer.
According to Anita Sloan, a junior accounting major and president of the club, the club’s purpose is to educate, advocate and inspire the Boise State community.
Though October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the club just finished their biggest event of the year, Relay for Life. The event was turned into a week-long occasion and, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the club had to adapt their approach to the event.
“We had to adapt to COVID-19, so we did a lot of social media campaigning,” Sloan said. “We were aiming to raise $8,540, which represents the number of cancer cases in Idaho this year alone, but we ended up raising $9,000, which was great.”
In addition to Relay for Life, the club shares survival stories via Instagram, and also pushes for cancer-related advocacy and education on various social media platforms.
“We hope that we create some sort of impact,” Sloan said. “We want to be involved in the fight against cancer.”
Hallie Auth, a sophomore communications major and part of the club’s executive board, says the club’s main goal is to help end cancer by raising funds for the American Cancer Society.
Along with helping to end cancer, Auth wants the club to be a safe space on campus for students who have been affected by cancer, whether as survivors or know people who have had cancer.
“Lots of students on campus have been affected by cancer,” Auth said. “We hope we can create a safe space where people can talk, reflect and mourn. We create a community for survivors and those who know survivors.”
The club is creating a sense of community even during the pandemic by sending out care packages to local survivors.
“We want them to know that we’re still here for them, that we haven’t forgotten them,” Auth said.
Normally, the club would host a survivor dinner, where survivors can come together to share stories and receive care packages. However, that isn’t possible this year, so care packages are being sent out instead, according to Auth.
“We want to thank everyone who helped out this year,” Auth said. “We want to make sure that survivors know we love them and are here for them.”
For Sidney Carscallen, a junior respiratory therapy major and the club’s social media coordinator, the club helps cancer survivors both locally and nationwide.
“Locally, we let survivors know that they’re not alone,” Carscallen said. “We also help nationwide by raising money for the American Cancer Society for treatments.”
According to Carscallen, they help to end cancer by raising awareness and promoting getting tested for various cancers.
“Our club helps to educate,” Carscallen said. “Before I was involved in this club, cancer wasn’t really on my mind. Once I attended a meeting, I learned how it affects more people than you think.”
You can learn more and contact the club via their Engage page.