College Students Come Together to Support the Fight for a Cure | Heroes Highlights

Three cheers for a collegiate group of OCRA Heroes who have put in time and energy to raise critical funds for ovarian cancer research. A field hockey team, a pharmaceutical fraternity, and a management class student all showed up and showed their support for our community in separate efforts over the past year. Read on to learn more about their fundraisers — and maybe even get inspired to start your own!

SUNY Brockport Women’s Field Hockey Team: State University of New York Brockport

A group of talented field hockey players hailing from SUNY Brockport took their team spirit beyond the field by championing the ovarian cancer community. All season long, they sold special t-shirts designed with our shared cause in mind. One side of the shirt is emblazoned with the SUNY Brockport logo while the other side has the words ‘turn the turf teal’ superimposed over a teal ribbon. Proceeds from the sale have been donated to OCRA, with the team planning to continue their fundraising efforts next season.

“We have been raising money for OCRA since 2019 when one of our Brockport Field Hockey family members lost her mom to ovarian cancer,” according to the team. Past efforts have included partnering with local restaurants to donate a percentage of food sales to OCRA, and sponsoring our organization through the university’s annual “Dancing with the Athletes” event. “This alliance has been near and dear to all of our hearts, and we will continue to support OCRA every year,” the team members said.

These field hockey players hope that their ongoing efforts will ultimately help in the discovery of a cure for ovarian cancer. Even after the season ends each year, our community remains top of mind for them. “Brockport Field Hockey knows that this disease impacts many more than the one being treated, and we would like to send love and support to all those impacted by ovarian cancer.” 

Kappa Epsilon – Beta Tau at USF TCOP: University of South Florida Taneja College of Pharmacy

The ovarian cancer community has a champion in the Beta Tau Chapter of Kappa Epsilon, whose members were determined to make a difference during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. As part of their involvement in Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity that unites pharmacy students across the United States, they are strongly committed to our shared cause. “As members of Kappa Epsilon, we support two professional endeavors on a national level — and one includes ovarian cancer awareness.”

The Beta Tau Chapter found a way to raise both awareness and funds by putting a team together to participate in one of OCRA’s signature cycling events, Ovarian Cycle Tampa, which was held at CycleBar® South Tampa in September. In addition to soliciting donations from their fellow fraternity members, they got creative on social media by posting bingo card flyers with different prices in each box to encourage their followers to give. 

Inspired to make a difference for the ovarian cancer community? We can help you channel your energy into efforts that raise funds and awareness!

Those who participated in Ovarian Cycle Tampa went into the event thinking of it as a “fun way to raise money” — and came away inspired. “We enjoyed being able to interact with survivors and people who have had a family member with ovarian cancer. We witnessed how much this meant to them and how determined they were to reach a goal.” The members of Kappa Epsilon – Beta Tau hope that their fundraising for OCRA will help the ovarian cancer community through our organization’s investment in research, advocacy work, and support of people impacted by this disease. “We were able to be a part of the cause and see where the change is going,” they said. “We hope that each day brings a little more strength, determination, and healing your way.”

Brendan Lavarra: Muhlenberg College

Brandon with his mother

When Muhlenberg College student Brendan Lavarra was given a school assignment that had a non-profit angle to it, he immediately knew he wanted to use the opportunity to benefit those impacted by ovarian cancer. After all, Brendan knows first-hand what it’s like to receive news of a loved one’s diagnosis.

“I vividly remember the morning my mother called me and told me she had cancer,” he said. So when his management class professor explained that the final project would entail taking on a project to raise money for a charity, the college sophomore turned his sights to OCRA. “I really wanted to see if I could do something beneficial to help fight a disease … that has not only affected my mother, but thousands of other families across the country.”

Brendan raised money through a GoFundMe campaign and offered custom t-shirts and sweatshirts that he designed himself as a donation incentive. The front of the shirt features an ovarian cancer awareness logo while the back pays homage to his mother by featuring her favorite quote: “If there is a will, there is a way.” He spread the word on social media and also shared the fundraiser with friends and teammates, ultimately raising more than double his goal. 

“I hope that my support of OCRA will help find new possible ways to fight this disease, while also inspiring others to help raise money,” Brendan said. And for all the families being impacted by news of an ovarian cancer diagnosis right now, he wants them to know that he was able to shift his perspective after initially feeling afraid of losing his mother. “I would say to have hope, and to try and be optimistic about the situation.”

We’re deeply grateful to these amazing OCRA Heroes, and the many supporters across the country who are making a difference for the ovarian cancer community! Learn how you can join the fight for a cure!

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