Chit-Chat with Colleges Against Cancer

Colleges Against Cancer is more than just an organization on campus; it’s a community that strives to help students feel like they are not alone when it comes to fighting the battle against cancer.

As the collegiate affiliate of the American Cancer Society, members of CAC work throughout the school year to raise money and create a support system for people who have been affected by cancer at the University of Maryland and in the greater College Park community.

Graphic made by UMD graduate, Abi Croll​

The biggest event CAC hosts is Relay for Life, a popular event at many colleges, high schools, and towns throughout the country. Hosted in April, Relay for Life is a 12-hour carnival and walk-a-thon in which different teams work to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

I got the chance to speak with one of this year’s 2018-2019 directors of CAC, senior marketing and supply chain major Liz G. to hear about all the fun and exciting things that will be happening with Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life this year.

“When I started at UMD, I found Colleges Against Cancer,” Liz said. “Relay has had an incredible impact on my life. It's not only given me some of my closest friends but it has also given me hope and motivation to finish the fight against cancer.”

Getting involved in clubs on campus can be daunting as a freshman. The First Look Fair is overwhelming and there is so much to choose from. Luckily CAC provides so much more than just something to do on the weekends or put on your resume. It gives back to the community and helps the people who need it the most.

“The mission alone is a great reason to get involved. Beyond the cause, Colleges Against Cancer at UMD is more than just a student-run organization, it is really a community full of support.” Liz said “We've all been affected by cancer in some way and have some kind of connection to the cause. CAC provides a supportive space where members can feel free to express this connection if they wish.”

This year the organization is trying to up their game and get more involvement from different organizations on campus. They are putting all their efforts into connecting with other student groups to have exciting fundraising and social events for UMD students.

“We are really excited to try out a new fundraising event in the spring with UMD Stand-Up Comedy Club. We are planning to have UMD student-comics and local DC comics perform in Hoff to raise money for our organization in mid-February.” Liz said, “We are also continuing to work closely with D4 Athletics, a sports organization that brings people together to stay active through pick-up sports games and tournaments.”

Liz Gillum at a Colleges Against Cancer event on McKeldin Mall

Colleges Against Cancer is also working hard to bring their efforts outside of the University. Once a semester the club travels to Baltimore to cook dinner for guests at Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge is a place where cancer patients and a loved one can stay for 5 days for free while receiving treatment if they cannot afford to travel to and from a hospital. Cancer patients get this opportunity because of the money raised by organizations like CAC at the University of Maryland.

“I was able to see our impact firsthand when we took a visit to Hope Lodge to cook dinner for the residents. We had the opportunity to meet and chat with them during dinner and find out more about their story.” said Liz “It was a really powerful feeling being in the building and talking with patients that would not be able to stay there without the funds raised by Relay For Life events. It was an incredible experience and I'm very grateful our work is really making a difference.”

Keep a lookout for this awesome organization and all of the ways it is promoting positivity throughout the community. Make sure to stop by their Relay for Life event in April for a great time and an even greater cause.