They call themselves "The Generation to End Cancer."
Sigma Chi fraternity brothers from across the United States, attending different schools, and each of them with a different story, share one goal: to raise $10 million for cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).
For many, the fight against cancer is personal. Drew Games, a student at George Washington University, says his mother was diagnosed when he was eight years old. "She was trying to protect us against the potential reality of it, but she was so brave," he says. "I remember it being scary, but I remember her bravery as an amazing take-away from it."
Her bravery helped push Drew, along with hundreds of other fraternity members from 150 chapters nationwide, to raise more than $1.3 million for cancer research this year. Drew's fraternity is one of 29 Sigma Chi chapters recently rewarded with a trip to Salt Lake City to join the 20k club, for raising more than $20 thousand.
Ryan Bailey, a Sigma Chi from Southern Utah University, also made the trip. Ryan's already familiar with the work being done at HCI. His mother was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer a few years ago.
"We moved up to Salt Lake City, and I took her to treatments at HCI. She ended up losing her battle, so I made a goal to help out wherever I can," he says.
Ryan takes his role in "The Generation to End Cancer" seriously. He says, "I want one day for everyone to be able to look back at cancer and say it was an epidemic and tragedy but it's over. I want it to be in the history books." Ryan says if every person donated just one dollar, billions could be raised to help end cancer for good.
Jon Huntsman, Sr. has high hopes for Ryan and his fraternity brothers. "Your job is to cure cancer in your generation," Huntsman says. "That's a heavy responsibility, but I think we've laid the groundwork."
For the men of Sigma Chi, efforts to raise money and awareness are not a one-time occurrence. Dan Shaver, chairman of the Sigma Chi Philanthropy Committee, says, "We rarely come across someone whose family isn't directly or indirectly affected by cancer. I don't think we'll ever rest until we find the cure."
More than half of all chapters nationwide raised money for HCI this year. Sigma Chi encourages every chapter to get involved.
20k club inductees for the 2015-2016 school year:
- University of Utah
- Loyola University Chicago
- University of Denver
- Georgia Southern University
- George Washington University
- University of Cincinnati
- Oklahoma State University
- American University
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of New Haven
- California State Poly University - Pomona
- Southern Methodist University
- California State University - San Marcos
- Cornell University
- Florida Gulf Coast University
- Santa Clara University
- Pennsylvania State University
- University of California- San Diego
- Florida International University
- University of California, Davis
- Butler University
- Southern Utah University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Ohio State University
- Northern Arizona University
- University of Texas - Austin
- Central Michigan University
- Boise State University
For more information, visit derbychallenge.org.
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, which means it meets the highest standards for cancer research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is located on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and is a part of the University of Utah Health Care system. HCI treats patients with all forms of cancer and operates several high-risk clinics that focus on melanoma and breast, colon, and pancreas cancers, among others. HCI also provides academic and clinical training for future physicians and researchers. For more information about HCI, please visit www.huntsmancancer.org.