There’s no doubt that Lauren Gamio knows how to juggle responsibilities. A junior hearing and speech major, Lauren holds a council position in Kappa Delta sorority, maintains a heavy workload, recently completed an internship shadowing a speech pathologist, and still finds time for her babysitting job on the side.
As if there isn’t enough already piled on Lauren’s plate, she recently inherited the front-running position in Kappa Delta’s charity event, Conkerr Cancer.
Cindy Kerr created the Conkerr Cancer, a Case for Smiles while her son, Ryan, was battling a rare bone cancer. While Ryan was in the hospital, Cindy devoted her time to sewing fun, bright pillowcases for her son and the other children in the hospital.
A few years later, Missy Pohlig, high school friend of Ryan Kerr and active member of Kappa Delta sorority, brought the idea to her sisters. Missy founded Kappa Delta’s annual Conkerr Cancer event, in which the sisters and other members of the UMD community sew pillows for the DC Children’s Hospital. While Missy was an undergraduate, Conkerr Cancer grew and thrived, and brightened a lot of children’s days.
When Missy graduated, Conkerr Cancer was at risk of disappearing from the community. Rather than let the charity graduate with the senior, Lauren Gamio volunteered to take Conkerr Cancer under her wing. She already had a lot of responsibilities within Kappa Delta – she’s been the Pan-Hellenic Association delegate for her chapter for the past year – but Conkerr Cancer was something Lauren couldn’t let disappear from the campus. Why? It’s simple. She loves children.
“I love working with kids, and helping them. It’s what I’m studying to do, and it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life,” Lauren told me after this year’s Conkerr Cancer event, “I couldn’t let such an important event disappear. It brings too many smiles to too many kids.”
Lauren planned, organized, and conducted Conkerr Cancer this semester at the Kappa Delta house. Between Lauren, her sisters, and many others in the community who participated in the event, over sixty pillowcases were sewn and delivered to the DC Children’s hospital this October. And Lauren has every intent of keeping the charity alive. “I’m hoping we can increase the number of pillowcases we sew every year. I want this to become a Kappa Delta tradition, something that sisters will always look forward to.”
Lauren’s done a lot of great work for Conkerr Cancer so far, and it seems that the charity is only going to keep growing at the University of Maryland, and hopefully beyond. For now, Lauren’s continuing her studies in the hopes of becoming a children’s speech pathologist, and continues to be an active member of Kappa Delta.