Richmond Students, Staff, and Faculty,
Everyone has been affected by someone who has cancer. Whether it be a close family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague, everyone has their own stories of how this terrible disease has affected them or their loved ones. This year, in order to fight back, we are holding University of Richmond’s Relay for Life 2013 on March 29th to March 30th from 6 pm to 6 am at the Weinstein Gym. As inspiration, the Westhampton College and Richmond College Deans as well as the Dean of the Robins School of Business have agreed to join our fight against cancer. This is how they are affected by cancer:
Associate Dean for Residence Life:
Writing this note has caused me to reflect on what I can do to support cancer research and prevent it from continuing in my family. Cancer has taken away those that I love and has prevented me from developing relationships with many. For example my paternal grandparents both died of cancer before I was born. Cancer is kind of a thief in that way; its sneaks in unsuspectingly and steals the ones we love and cherish. My godmother, who was like a second mother to me, died about 6 years ago of colon cancer. It came as a shock to all of us; she was healthy looking, vibrant, and very active. Cancer isn’t prejudice; it knows no boundaries of race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.
Associate Dean, Westhampton College:
I grew up within ten miles of my Aunt Suzy. She was my Mom’s youngest sister and one of the funniest, smartest, and most generous people I’ve ever met. She was the aunt who always bought you a present for Christmas, always sent you a card on your birthday, and was in attendance at every major event in your life. She loved all of her nieces and nephews and spent hours praying for each of us every day. My Aunt Suzy had five daughters and growing up they were some of my very best friends. We would spend weekend days at each other’s houses and knew that if we visited, Aunt Suzy would welcome us in and make another place for us at the table. Years later, after graduate school, I moved to Georgia for a job. It was shortly after my move that I learned my Aunt Suzy had cancer. She was diagnosed with breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer at the age of forty-seven. She had a double mastectomy, hysterectomy, and went through chemotherapy and radiation but it was too late; the cancer had spread. I got married the summer after I moved to Georgia and my Aunt Suzy—always so young and vibrant—passed away a month later. She left behind five daughters and her husband of almost thirty years. Her youngest daughter was a sophomore in high school. Regularly I think of my Aunt Suzy and miss her contagious laugh, love of lasagna and wilted greens, and the unconditional love she had for her family which extended to her nieces and nephews. She was the heart of our family—so loved and so deeply missed.
Dean of Westhampton College:
Cancer forces us to grow a little older and a little wiser. It also grows our capacity to love. The best part of Westhampton College and the University of Richmond is the relationships: faculty with students, students with staff, faculty with staff, and on and on. As the dean of women, I become very close with individual students, but I view my students, on a whole, as “the college.” Thus the success of each student becomes personal to me, even if I never meet her across her four years here. When cancer enters our lives, it becomes a relationship—one that is never easy-going or fun. College students whose lives are affected by cancer grow up fast, spiraling them out of this “emerging adulthood” phase and landing them squarely into adulthood. Some of our students are already there upon arriving at Richmond. Yet, as they negotiate their relationship with cancer, students realize the paramount significance of human relationships, and they grow to respect a truism precisely it is true: loving those who love you is what matters most in our lives.
Associate Dean, Richmond College:
My first wife was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 27. The lasting effects of this disease will always be with me, just as they are with anyone who has had someone close to them be stricken by this horrible disease.
Dean of the Robins School of Business:
Several members of my family have battled cancer, including both my parents and a brother. My brother was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. He has recovered but his cancer went undetected for some time due to the lack of awareness of the incidence of male breast cancer, which while rare, does occur. Spreading the news about prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer and raising funds to search for cures are causes I support.
Dean of Richmond College:
I have known so many people who have been diagnosed with cancer…my mom, my sister, my sister-in-law, my wife’s aunt, friends, neighbors, students, colleagues, and the list goes on…and on.
Some of the people in my life have fought hard, and are winning the battle against cancer. My sister and my sister-in-law have both worked through the chemo and radiation treatments…dealing with the fatigue and the side effects. They are both courageous women, and for now they have both come out on top.
But I can easily think of other friends…a neighbor of mine when we lived in North Carolina, a former colleague at UNC…who both died when their cancer came back with a vengeance. After a friend of mine lost his wife to a brain tumor, I started raising funds and awareness each November by growing hair on my normally bald head for the “ChiaDean” fundraiser…each year, I am amazed by the number of people who tell me of their personal battle – or the battle of their friends and loved ones – who are fighting brain tumors.
Relay for Life is an amazing community fundraiser. It is a public commitment to take a stand in the fight against cancer. It’s a simple idea…the organizers want to “create more birthdays” by raising funds to support cancer research. I hope you will consider joining them, or to contribute to one of the groups who will be participating.
Join us on March 29th to help bring an end to the pain of cancer…let’s work toward a day when cancer is a thing of the past. In order to join a team or create your own visit: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=48741
Thank you for your continued support!
UR Relay for Life