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Breast cancer funds surpass expectations

Justin Tardiff | Thursday, November 20, 2003

The College of Arts and Letters collected $3,441 in October in donations for the Cancer Society of St. Joseph’s County.

The collection significantly surpassed last year’s total of $2,870. This is the third year in which October has been recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The money raised will allow 24 to 25 mammograms for the women of St. Joseph’s Country who cannot afford the diagnostic treatment. The University’s collection makes it the top donor to the society.

The English Department alone collected $680, nearly tripling their total from last year and raising enough to fund four or five mammograms.

“I saw an ad in People Magazine for ‘Jean Day,’ [a fundraiser to support breast cancer awareness],” said Maureen Marnocha, office manager for the Dean of Arts and Letters. “We thought about doing something of our own … the collection has spiraled from there, getting bigger and bigger.”

“We leave it up to departments to push the issue,” Marnocha said. “It’s their decision to put in their area; it seems to work better.”

The College of Arts and Letters competed to see which department could raise the most for the cause “to make it more interesting,” said Kim Baum, an administrative assistant in the English Department.

“We sent out [e-mail] messages to all English majors, graduate students and faculty,” Baum said.

Within the English Department, administrative assistant Lynn McCormack composed the e-mail messages for recipients.

“We didn’t want people to feel obligated or guilty,” she said. “We make them want to give because they feel passion for the cause.”

“Lynn’s messages was just that we all have this issue,” said Baum. “We asked [the recipients] to give generously, and they did. We are taking this particular cause very seriously. Faculty and students poured in.”

Other areas of the college “do what they want to try to raise funds,” said McCormack, pointing out that “the Arts and Letters Copy Shop held a raffle.”

“We all felt that breast cancer was definitely a concern,” Baum said. “The college wanted to support it. … A general message was sent to administration staff saying that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that the departments were collecting donations.”

“Educating us and reminding the staff is what really caused the collection to take off,” Baum said. “People started thinking about themselves, their friends and relatives. We look forward to this every October because we know what we’re capable of doing.”

“The money stays here [in St. Joseph County],” Marnocha said. “So often, when people donate they don’t know where the money ends up. Here, we have people in the college benefiting. Everyone is touched by breast cancer.”

“One student gave $50, and another student made a point of giving $2 after the fundraiser was over … to us, that was as big as the $50 donation,” Marnocha said.