BYU students team up with national organization to bring awareness to childhood cancer
PROVO — Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death from disease among children in the U.S. And only 4 percent of cancer research dollars goes towards childhood cancer, but a group of Brigham Young University students is teaming up with a national group to try and change that.
Lauren Holbrook is one of those students. She has received three heart transplants and battled cancer six times, caused by the medication she had to take.
“The whole concept of chemotherapy and going through treatments and talking about what treatments are like, that was absolutely terrifying,” said Holbrook.
She’s part of 95 percemt of childhood cancer survivors who end up suffering late effects, including secondary cancers, throughout the course of their lives.
In fact, every month 1,315 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the United States.
Neil Thompson has also battled cancer, he said, “You know they say only one in a few million ever gets cancer, but it affects everyone’s lives.”
Holbrook and Thompson are sharing their stories to help a group of BYU Public Relations students.
“It’s always easier for us to connect with a person than a hashtag, even though hashtags are fun too,” said Holbrook.
The BYU PR students have created a campaign for their client, With-Purpose, all about bringing awareness to children with cancer. The team has designed their project around the idea that “every kid counts.”
Organizer Madison Taylor said, “What we have done is we’ve talked to 1,315 students about our message and we have them hold a number to represent a kid that will be diagnosed with cancer during the month of our campaign.”
Throughout the month of March, they’ve hosted a benefit concert, a fitness class, and a fundraising run – all to teach other students what kids with cancer have to go through.
“If we can just make a tiny dent in that then we’ll feel like we’re making a difference of some sort,” said Taylor.
Holbrook and Thompson are both cancer free and healthy.
“It’s given me a perspective where everybody’s story is so unique and so hard in its own way,” said Holbrook.
The campaign has one final event Wednesday night at the Wash in Provo. After that, the PR students will submit their entire campaign to the Bateman competition, a national competition for public relations students.
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