Dedicated seniors organize fundraiser for cancer research

Two seniors at Colby have found a unique way to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Students Syd Abrams ’17 and Grace Dunn ’17 have organized a kickball game on Saturday, April 22 at the College. The event, called Kick(ball) Cancer, is in lieu of the Relay for Life cancer event normally held at Colby annually. Donations will benefit the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Two kickball games will be held, one at 2 p.m. and one at 3 p.m., both on the softball field at the Colby Baseball/Softball Complex. Colby a capella groups will perform before the game and during  a break halfway through the game. After the games, there will be pizza and a keg (for students over 21) at the Senior Apartments.

The Relay for Life normally occurs all over the country, organized by the American Cancer Society. However, this year the event is not happening at Colby, and Abrams and Dunn, who have worked together on the event at Colby in past years, wanted to ensure a cancer research fundraising event would still happen on campus. They decided a kickball game would be exciting and would hopefully attract a large crowd.

Abrams and Dunn both have personal inspirations for their dedication to this event. Abrams lost her father to cancer during her freshman year at Colby, and wants to help ensure that others don’t have to experience the same. “I’ve wanted to raise money for cancer research so that another girl won’t lose her father and so that more lives aren’t taken,” Abrams told the Echo.  “Cancer is a horrible disease and it’s really important to me to try to gain support and donate money to something that has affected so many people,” said Abrams.

Dunn has personally been coping with cancer for three years now, and is trying to do her best to increase awareness and research for everyone that has been diagnosed. “I want a cure for selfish reasons, but also for selfless reasons,” said Dunn, “because I can feel for those who deal with the disease day to day either personally, or with a loved one.” Dunn has worked on Relay for Life events for the past eight years, both at Colby and her high school.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the institution where the proceeds from this event will be sent, is Dunn’s treatment facility. It is one of the world’s top cancer treatment and research centers, with people travelling there from around the world to receive consultations and treatment. Dunn travels there for check-ups and treatment once every three weeks. The cancer she has, called adrenal cortical carcinoma, is terminal and extremely rare for someone her age. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, she receives an experimental drug treatment that will hopefully shrink her tumor and help her recover.

Dunn and Abrams know that Memorial Sloan Kettering will donate 100 percent of Colby’s proceeds to cancer research, which is not always the case at other institutions. Besides it being where Dunn goes for treatment, they believe it is truly the best cancer institute in the world. “This institution is significant because it will be the place, we believe, to find the cure, and if not, offer the absolute best care for cancer patients,” explained Dunn.

Students can register to play in the kickball game until April 19. For those interested in signing up, or just donating, Abrams and Dunn will be tabling at the Spa on April 13 and April 19 from 12-2 p.m. Donations can be made in cash or venmo to accounts @Syd-Abrams or @grace-dunn. Dunn and Abrams hope not just for the success of the event this year, but of similar events at Colby in the future. Since they are graduating seniors, they hope to see underclassmen take over next year to run either a Relay for Life event if it returns, or another event with kickball games if it does not.