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Student Spearheads Fundraising for Cancer Patients

Fairbanks High School junior Shannon Conroy realized the effects of cancer on a family member when her father was diagnosed and treated for cancer of the tongue six years ago. Although her father has remained cancer-free, Shannon has dreamed of finding a way to support patients and their families during a highly stressful time.

With assistance from members of a student leadership organization, Shannon created a project that raised $1,025 for programs benefitting local cancer patients, including the Chicken Soup Group at Memorial Hospital, the support group for cancer patients and their families or caregivers. Shannon presented the check at Memorial Health’s Board of Trustees meeting last night.

“I am a member of Fairbanks FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), a national student leadership organization,” Shannon explains. “I have also been a Student Volunteer at Memorial Hospital for the past two years. Some of my time there has been spent in the Specialty Care Center, where I have assisted cancer patients. With this project, we are making a difference by enhancing support for these patients and their families.”

A team of FCCLA student members became Cancer Crusaders, working to promote cancer screenings and raise awareness. The Cancer Crusaders approached spectators at three Fairbanks home athletics events (soccer, volleyball, and football), seeking donations from spectators to “crush cancer”. In addition, they distributed information about cancer screening guidelines that was developed by the Oncology team at Memorial.

According to her FCCLA advisor Laura Falk, Shannon Conroy worked to make her dream a reality, meeting with Memorial staff to discuss her idea, and creating and managing the project. “I’m really proud of Shannon,” Falk states. Shannon will enter the Fairbanks Cancer Crusaders project in a regional FCCLA competition in March in the Advocacy category.

Evie Collins, Director of the Memorial Health Foundation says “It’s remarkable that Shannon took the initiative to create a project and rally other students to make an impact in her community. Our Oncology team, patients, and families appreciate their hard work.”

The Chicken Soup Group meets monthly at Memorial Hospital, and is led by clinical oncology experts. Each session includes a light soup meal, education, and time for sharing and support. Registration is not required, but is encouraged. To register a patient and/or caregiver, or for information, please call (937) 578-2862.