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Stand Up to Cancer hosts dinner

| Monday, March 3, 2014

Cancer patient survivors, caretakers, students and families who have been affected by cancer celebrated the lives of local heroes at the third annual “Don’t Stop Believin’ Celebration of Life” dinner Saturday night, hosted by Saint Mary’s Stand Up to Cancer club.
Christie Hutch, a junior at Saint Mary’s and president of the Stand Up to Cancer club said everyone present made a difference.
“Everyone who comes really is a hero. Whether they have dealt with cancer personally or taken care of someone who has or whatever the case may be, I think it’s important to recognize these people,” Hutch said.
To start off the evening, local 12-year-old rising star Justin McCormick sang “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. The talented young singer has been on a variety of singing shows and is in the process of building his career, Hutch said.
“He does a lot of things for the American Cancer Society and sings at the Relay for Life every year,” Hutch said, “His main song that he sings at all these competitions and things is ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ and because that’s the name of our event, he asked if he could perform.”
At the event, guests enjoyed an Italian buffet dinner catered by Sodexo and were given raffle tickets for a free auction that included baskets donated by families of club members and local businesses such as Edible Arrangements, Let’s Spoon and Flourish Boutique, Hutch said. She said the event was purely a celebration, not a fundraiser.
“Every other event [the club] does is primarily a fundraiser. … We raise money for the national organization which is great because that goes purely towards cancer research, but this is the one thing we do that’s local and it’s to show our support as a community and as a college and as a club,” Hutch said.
To raise awareness for the event, the club placed a press release in the South Bend Tribune and hung posters around campus and in local areas including Memorial Hospital, Hutch said. She said approximately 75 people attended the event.
“Students joined the guests for dinner, and I think everyone learned something from talking to [the guests].  For me, it was their attitudes that affected me so profoundly,” Hutch said. “Each individual seemed to truly understand and embody the importance of living in the moment.
“The families whom I sat with at dinner said that battling cancer really made them realize that you can’t sweat the small stuff. It was so inspiring for me and the other students to hear this from our guests.”
Junior Bridget Condon said she was touched by cancer patient who spoke during dinner.
“He spoke about his experience with cancer and how the Saint Mary’s nursing students always made his treatment days a little better,” Condon said, “It really spoke to what we, not just as a club, but as a college, are all about. Whether we realize it or not, each and every one of our little acts of service can make a huge difference in the lives of other people,” she said.
Condon said she hopes the event made people aware of the immense local support available for those battling with cancer.
“It was great to be able to treat these heroes to a worry free night of fun,” Condon said. “While we cannot do everything, we can certainly do some things to show our love and support in their battles.”

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About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

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