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First-year student Erika DiPasquale is keeping very busy during her first year at Goucher. She plays volleyball for the Goucher team, she is a board member with the Rotaract Club of Towson, and most recently, Erika has launched the Gophers vs. Cancer campaign on Goucher’s campus. Sponsored by the Rotaract Club of Towson, Gophers vs. Cancer is a fundraiser spin-off to Coaches vs. Cancer, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) nationwide effort to spread cancer awareness as well as raise money for the ACS. The difference is that the money raised by Gophers vs. Cancer will go towards Goucher’s GC Gophers vs. Cancer team for Relay for Life at Towson University. In the end, all money raised will go directly to the ACS.
DiPasquale became involved with the ACS at a young age. When she was in 3rd grade, her Girl Scout troop volunteered at an ACS event called “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.” After that event, she continued to volunteer at the walk annually, eventually developing a relationship with the Vice President of the Northern New Jersey region ACS. “[They] encouraged me to start a Relay For Life in my hometown of Paramus,” says DiPasquale. During her junior year of high school, she started the event for Paramus and acted as the chairperson. That year, they raised over $100,000 for the ACS and earned the New Jersey Rookie Event of the Year Award. Her senior year, the event raised $150,000 and had over 1,000 community members involved. Now, DiPasquale is looking to fundraise here at Goucher.
During certain athletic games this year, DiPasquale and the Rotaract Club will have a booth selling $1 Gophers vs. Cancer cards. Donors can choose to decorate them as they wish. The cards will be hung up on a “Wall of Hope” to show the large number of people who have been affected by cancer in some way. Additionally, the booth will have Luminaria bags. DiPasquale says, “People can dedicate a Luminaria bag in memory of a cancer victim or in honor of a survivor for a $10 donation. [These bags] will be a part of the Luminaria Ceremony during the Relay For Life at Towson University on April 18.”
The first Gophers vs. Cancer event was held at the women’s volleyball game on October 11. DiPasquale says the event was a huge success and “raised a significant sum of money.” Additionally, she said, “people were very interested in the cause.” The volleyball team showed their support by wearing pink socks, shoelaces, headbands, pre-wrap, and warm-up shirts. During halftime, there was a serving event where anyone who donated money had the opportunity to win a tee shirt.
As for future events, the club is going to continue to set up a booth during future sporting events. However, the next Gophers vs. Cancer event is not until the spring. DiPasquale hopes that the winter and spring sports will also be interested in the event. She is also looking for volunteers to help out with the booth in the future. If anyone is interested in getting involved or volunteering, they should contact Erika DiPasquale at email@example.com or the firstname.lastname@example.org. People are needed to help out during the day of the event or beforehand in the planning process.
On April 18, the Rotaract Club of Towson is going to be participating at the Towson University Relay For Life. Any Goucher students, faculty, and staff can join the relay team “GC Gophers vs. Cancer.” To register, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/TowsonMD and click “Join Team.” DiPasquale says, “relay is a great way for students to participate in the American Cancer Society’s mission and further their involvement in the community!”