Finish the Fight!

Finish the FightHappy 100th Birthday to the American Cancer Society-that’s 100 years of progress in the fight against cancer. Sixty years ago, 1 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer survived.

Today, thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 will survive.

Let’s make it 3 out of 3. It is time to take action and Finish the Fight

Top Contributions already made by the American Cancer Society Include:

1913: The American Cancer Society is founded.

1946: The American Cancer Society launches its groundbreaking research program.

1947: The first successful chemotherapy treatment for cancer is discovered.

1954: The fight to stop smoking and reduce lung cancer begins.

1973: Mammography is shown to be the best tool  to find breast cancer early.

1976: First Great American Smokeout.

1997: The American Cancer Society launches the first 24/7 cancer information call center.

2003: American Cancer Society research confirms the link between obesity and many types of cancer.

2012: The US celebrates a 20% decline in cancer death rates.


SDSU celebrates Relay for Life

By Rachel Gibbons Juice Reporter | SDSU Collegian

Party with a Purpose“Party with a Purpose” was the theme of Relay for Life held in Frost Arena from 6 p.m. on Friday April 19 to 6 a.m. Saturday. Supporters filled the arena to celebrate 100 years of the American Cancer Society and participate in Relay for Life.

Brittanie Venard, Relay for Life event chair and President of College Against Cancer, called the event a giant birthday party.  She said “Party with a Purpose” related to celebrating 100 years of the American Cancer Society along with Relay for Life’s goal of creating a world with more birthdays.

“We all come to this event with a personal tie to cancer. It’s just that cancer doesn’t sleep and neither do we and this is our way to fight back against cancer,” Venard said.

One of the main goals of CAC is to organize and fundraise for Relay for Life every year. The club starts in August and puts on a variety of fundraising events.  They raised funds through “Bowling for Boobs,” ice skating at Larson Ice Center and Coaches vs. Cancer. Area restaurants like Pizza Ranch, Cherry Berry, Cubby’s and Dairy Queen sponsored nights where a percentage of all proceeds went towards the CAC’s efforts.

CAC is divided into eight subcommittees; the committees are fundraising, team development, sponsorship, entertainment, survivorship/lumanaria, logistics, online, and publicity.

Relay for Life aims to support people who are currently fighting cancer, have survived cancer, remember those who have lost the battle, and make the commitment to fight the disease and raise money and awareness to end cancer.

Relay for Life consisted of 22 teams. Many SDSU clubs and organizations made teams and set up around the track. Along with sororities, fraternities and campus clubs, groups of friends also formed teams for the relay. Members from each team take turns walking on the track during the event’s entirety.

Each team had a specific campsite and was in charge of an on-site fundraiser.  A few of the fundraisers were pancakes, video games, a kissing booth, face painting, yard games and limbo.  The fundraisers made it fun for walkers of other teams to visit their campsites all the while raising money for cancer research.

The all-night event started with the opening ceremony and introduction of the night’s activities. Jessica Fick, freshman at SDSU, was named honorary survivor. She spoke at the opening of the event and told her personal story with cancer.  The honorary survivor is selected as someone on the SDSU campus who is a cancer survivor and is willing to share their story during the celebrate ceremony.

“I have been involved three times; it is part of my life now,” Fick said of being part of Relay for Life. “It feels really good to have all the people here for us,” she said.

After opening ceremony, the survivors/caregivers took the first lap around the track to start the night off.  The Relay for Life committee followed, and the rest of the teams started their lap afterwards.

As team members walked around the track, theme laps were featured about every two hours of the event. The theme laps were CEO and office women leader, toga, Mardi Gras, spring break and wearing colors that represent certain cancers. Team members dressed up and walked their laps in conjunction with the theme.

“My favorite part of Relay was being able to see all the teams having fun while working together to raise money for a great organization,” said Ryan Homan, Co-chair for Relay for Life.

Many activities were offered for participants throughout the night.  The teams partied with a purpose to performances by singers, participated in Zumba, “Minute to Win It,” the dance team performed and at midnight root beer pong was played. Miss South Dakota, Jessica Albers, was a featured speaker.

“It’s another great opportunity for volunteering, and there are people in the club’s families or friends that have been affected by cancer and it’s a great cause,” said Shaelee Nelson, member of the Exercise Science Club that formed a team for Relay for Life.

Relay for Life this year had more reason to celebrate, the event raised $19,500, which is more than last year. One Relay for Life sayings is “Imagine a world with more birthdays … we’re making that happen.”

KRAVE the Experience was also on hand to provide chair massages and all proceeds were donated to the SDSU Relay for Life.

Great American Smokeout

Great American Smokeout
On November 15th, the American Cancer Society marked its 37th Great American Smokeout. The day encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

This day is especially meaningful to my family and myself. I lost my grandmother in 2007 from the effects of life-long tobacco use. I encourage every tobacco user to consider their options and consider the choice to quit or reduce their tobacco use. No form of tobacco is worth losing time with your loved ones.

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — Nearly 1 in every 5 adults.

Coaches vs. Cancer Soccer

Coaches vs Cancer SoccerThe SDSU Soccer Team supported the American Cancer Society during the Soccer Coaches vs. Cancer game. Fans came decorated in pink and supported pink “Goal” signs to cheer on the Jackrabbits! Before the game began, every fan was given a pink ballon and the balloons were all released together. This was an emotional statement, but made the value of the Coaches vs. Cancer Game prominent. A silent auction for an autographed soccer ball and jersey, as well as an online auction for the game jerseys, raised hundreds of dollars towards the American Cancer Society. Colleges Against Cancer is proud to be teamed up with the athletic department. Athletes, coaches, and sport-going fans are all able to contribute in the fight against cancer. There is a means for all of us to work toward a cancer free world!

Bowling for Boobs 2012

Bowling for BoobsBowling for Boobs is a fun way to get involved on campus and a great means of volunteering. The event was held at Prairie Lanes Bowling Alley. The two-night event brings hundreds of students to the bowling alley to fight breast cancer. We raised over $1,500 at the event to prevent, treat, and cure breast cancer!

To learn more about breast cancer such as signs, symptoms, diagnosis, videos, mammograms, and breast cancer in men, please visit

Making Strides Against CancerAnother great way to get involved in the fight against breast cancer is Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The event is a powerful and inspiring opportunity to unite as a community to honor breast cancer survivors and raise awareness about steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer. Follow the link to get involved in your community event!

The Very First Coaches vs Cancer Event at SDSU

Coaches vs. Cancer Volleyball GameI am beyond proud to announce that Colleges Against Cancer has teamed up with the South Dakota State University Athletic Department for a Coaches vs. Cancer Volleyball Game. This is the first Coaches vs. Cancer event at South Dakota State University. By reaching out to the athletic department, we are eager to create further cancer awareness to fans, coaches, and even players. Players wore pink jerseys that were then used for a silent auction online at GoJacks. During time outs and half time, cancer related information was announced. A silent auction also took place at the event for a team autographed volleyball and autographed jerseys. The event was a Pink Out, in which all fans wore pink. We raised hundreds of dollars for the American Cancer Society and thank all of those involved.

Spreading the American Cancer Society Mission at SDSU

Fall 2012 Organization FairTo kick off Colleges Against Cancer 2012-2013, we made a prominent appearance at the South Dakota State University Fall Organization Fair. In order to create life-long volunteers for the American Cancer Society, it is important to get students on campus involved and excited about the American Cancer Society Mission. At the fair we advocated about the American Cancer Society, as well as networked with other organizations on campus. With it being my first year as President of Colleges Against Cancer, I was proud to see that our strong presence at the Fair brought nearly 100 students to our first meeting of the year- an increase from 20 students last year.

Passing on my Crown

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This past weekend, I officially passed along my crown as Miss Lake Alvin 2011. It is difficult to pass along a title that I have worked so hard with for the past year, but I know that my successor with do great things. It has been such an honor to represent the Miss America Organization.

I have met so many people from the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and the South Dakota Communities. The connections that I have acquired over the past year, will continue to play a major role in my life. I plan to further the relationships with the organizations that I have already started my work with, along with meeting new organizations and beginning new relationships.

Thank you to all of my family and friends for all of your support and encouragement throughout the year. Thank you to all of my sponsors: Power and Grace Gymnastics, Ballereana Dance Studio, Sunshine Foods, Xango Rocky, and Inner Depth, LLC.

Miss South Dakota 2012 Pageant!

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After spending the past year dedicated to becoming the next Miss South Dakota, I am blessed to walk away with the 4th runner-up title and the Miss America Academic Scholarship. While I did not receive the coveted title of Miss South Dakota 2012, I will always covet the many memories, friends, and lessons that I have gained.

Thank you to all of my family and friends that supported me along my journey, cheered my on from the crowd, and sent me positive thoughts and prayers.

My work toward cancer awareness and prevention has just begun. I am filled with motivation to create a world cancer free. I am eager to continue my work with the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.

I want every individual to know that they can contribute in the fight against cancer. I want every individual to know that there are healthy lifestyle choices that can be taken to reduce the risk for cancer. I want every individual to recognize that one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer. Cancer does not discriminate, but we can rise above it!!!

Lake Alvin Fishing Derby

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Young ladies who were enjoying the fishing

As the reigning Miss Lake Alvin, I had a great time meeting numerous young fishermen and women. The Lake Alvin Fishing Derby was incorporated into the annual Harrisburg Days.

Visiting with the fishers on the dock

After taking part in the Harrisburg Days Parade the day prior, I was eager to continue the fun at the Fishing Derby.

Lake Alvin is a hidden gem if you are looking for a peaceful afternoon fishing or relaxing on the beach. I am beyond proud to represent Lake Alvin.