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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Fundraising chapter lacks student support

Amy Webb
Amy Webb / Arizona Daily Wildcat Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research held its annual walk Saturday April 13 on the UA Mall.

Despite years of meager student participation, the UA chapter of Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research continues to hold fundraisers and collaborate with other Arizona university chapters.

The chapter’s numbers are low because of the hundreds of other clubs and philanthropy events, according to club President Steven Zonsius, a junior studying accounting and entrepreneurship.

“We’ve actually only really recruited, in the four years SSBTR has been a club, four or five kids that weren’t involved in the Phoenix walk prior to joining here,” Zonsius said. “It’s actually really difficult to get kids in it.”

Zonsius worked with other members to plan the Tucson SSBTR Walk-a-Thon this year. However, for a variety of reasons, no one attended. Some volunteers stressed the need for more people to get involved.

Steve Glassman, who founded the club in 2002, came to Tucson to help with the Walk-a-Thon. He said he was surprised that no one attended because of the success of the past three Tucson Walk-a-Thons, but added that he’s optimistic for next year’s.

“I feel that this year we’ve been fighting different circumstances here,” Glassman said. “If we can get the publicity out early enough, there is no reason this event can’t be successful.”

Most of the volunteers within the club have a personal connection to the cause and are extremely vocal about their desire for research funding and ultimately to find a cure for brain tumors, which are one of the top causes of cancer deaths in teenagers in the world.

Wendy and Marty Kaye lost their 17-year-old daughter Lauren to a brain tumor a year before they attended one of the club’s events. Wendy Kaye is now the president of the national organization, working with her husband at her side to promote brain cancer research funding.

“One request my daughter made was to try and spare other young people the same ordeal she had to go through,” Marty Kaye said. “A lot of us who are involved in this have been personally touched.”

Many of those who attended the event spoke about their motivation to join and the benefits of the club.

“These are all such great people and even though they lost their daughters, sons … they still have a positive aspect on life and that’s what you want to be surrounded by,” said Ryan Mcabee, a regional development senior and the club’s former executive co-chair.

Some members of the UA chapter said that even with the disappointing turnout this year, the cause is important enough to keep trying each year.

“I think the real benefit of this chapter is being able to teach the community more about SSBTR and try and raise money for it,” Zonsius said. “While we don’t raise as much as the Phoenix event, it’s still something. And really, anything helps.”

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