Dodgeball raises cancer awareness for students

By Eric Gibble
November 5, 2009

Shannon Keough

Students gathered beneath the lights of the tennis courts to participate in a battle that would determine the best dodgeball team at Cabrini on Thursday, Oct. 22. However, the competition was not the only reason students came to compete.

“We want to reinforce that we’re here for a good time and a good cause,” Orlin Jespersen, assistant director of athletics, said to the excited teams before the tournament began.

The dodgeball tournament for cancer awareness was held to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event brought 36 players together on an unusually warm fall night and raised $500.

Kyle Roth, sophomore undeclared major, was the brainchild behind it all. For his “Leadership of the Heart” class freshman year, Roth developed the dodgeball tournament idea as a service project. This year, faculty director for the living and learning community, Sharmon Bryant, approached Roth about bringing his project to life.

“This year she approached me again and still wanted to do it. That’s where the ball started rolling,” Roth said. He admitted that he was nervous about the turnout for the event.

“I was really one of the doubters that thought there were only going to be about five people,” Roth said.

After seeing the potential that Roth’s idea had, Bryant wanted to implement it.

“I’ve had some personal interface with the disease,” Bryant said.

She had her own scare with lymphoma this past summer.

“It was really a nice effort that involved members of the campus community,” Bryant said.

The inspiration behind Roth’s project is his younger cousin, Sean Beatty. Beatty first began to complain about his muscles hurting. After a doctor’s visit, Beatty was diagnosed with leukemia.

“It was hard to see him. I remember doing another charity event, Light the Night, and when we were leaving no one could touch him. No one could give him a hug or a kiss,” Roth said.

Beatty had to withdraw from school due to his extended hospital visits and intense chemo treatments. A week before his birthday on Aug. 14, 2003, Beatty passed away.

“He loved fishing, soccer, and he liked to be an older brother,” Roth said.

Other students were inspired by the event and shared similar stories of relatives who were affected by cancer. Sophomore business administration major Dianne Walmsley’s mother passed away in 1993 after being diagnosed with lung and throat cancer.

“We dodged for life tonight,” Walmsley said.

Other students participated in the event simply to raise awareness to help the cause.

“I’ve had relatives that have had cancer, but no one I’m really close to. We just want to find a cure and save more lives,” Brother Dominic Whetzel, sophomore English major, said.

“I did this for charity, a little bit of peer pressure and to have fun,” Whetzel said. “I’m a swimmer, not a runner. But, I’d definitely do it again.”

Additional tables were set up throughout the campus to raise money. Students who did not participate but came by to watch could also donate and received a bracelet.

Members of Team 6 ended up being the winners after the deciding game was over and they were each awarded with their own trophies. But, at the end of the night, there were no losers.

“It was great. There was a lot of friendly team competition,” Walmsley said. “But our team will have to strategize more next time.”

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Eric Gibble

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