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Wayne State University

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Creating Wayne Working Against Childhood Cancer

Throughout a students life they meet numerous amounts of people that they become deeply connected with. My freshman year at Wayne State University I met two of my best friends Jessica Bedard and Cassie Vandenberg. As you become closer with friends you learn more about each others lives. My good friend Cassie Vandenberg had stage four Wilm’s Tumor Kidney cancer when she was eight years old. Cassie is now 11 years cancer free! Cassie’s mom is the executive director of the non-profit organization, Kids Without Cancer. Kids Without Cancer is a volunteer based organization and 97% of their money raised goes to research. Cassie has attended several events and meetings with her mom, and later she invited me and Jessica along to attend. When Jessica and Cassie were at a Kids Without Cancer meeting they mentioned starting a student organization at Wayne State University to help bring awareness. Kids Without Cancer was highly supportive of this, especially since they are currently conducting research at Wayne State University. The head of the anatomy department at Wayne State University, Dr. Thummel, the head of oncology at Children’s Hospital in Detroit, Dr. Taub, and researcher Traci, are testing zebra fish to see what environmental triggers cause pre-leukemia cells, because leukemia is the number one disease killer in children. This research at Wayne State University on zebra fish is being done because they have similar circulatory systems as humans. Kids Without Cancer donated $356,000 to pay for the laboratory in the new Biology on Wayne State’s campus where the research is done. Since 1981 Kids Without Cancer has raised and donated over $4.5 million to research. After discussing it with the board members of Kids Without Cancer, Jessica, Cassie and I sat down and created Wayne Working Against Childhood Cancer. Cassie is the President of this organization, Jessica is the co-President, and I am the Vice President. Our goal for this student organization is to raise money in collaboration with students at Wayne State University to donate to Kids Without Cancer. We also hope that Wayne Working Against Childhood Cancer will bring awareness to the Wayne State University community about childhood cancer. We will continue to attend Kids Without Cancer meetings and work closely with them. Cassie and I were very fortunate to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the lab this summer, that the research on zebra fish will be done at. Cassie and I were able to go down to the lab and see the zebra fish while the researchers explained more to us. If anyone is interested in joining our student organization or donating you can contact me at ga2777@wayne.edu. You can also like our Facebook pag,e Wayne Working Against Childhood Cancer. Michigan State and University of Michigan have student organizations connecting with Kids Without Cancer as well. I can not wait to see the impact we will make and hope to spread this idea to other universities as well. We are students making a difference and together we can work against childhood cancer!

From General
Posted by Alyssa on October 24, 2017

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