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G-Phi goes for glow

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

A participant in Gamma Phi Beta's "Go for Glow" philanthropy event sprints toward the finish line to pass off the glow baton during a relay race on First Street on Friday night. The purpose of the event is to spread awareness and raise money for colon cancer research.

UA students raced to spread awareness and raise money for colon cancer research at the “Go for Glow” philanthropy event hosted by Gamma Phi Beta sorority on Friday night, at the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Second Street.

Relay teams of eight ran sprints down Second Street and passed a glowing baton in hopes of moving on to the next round of competition, all while lit by black lights. The street was filled with students dressed in neon colors, wearing glow necklaces and bracelets, and warming up for their segment of the race. Others who came to support their favorite sorority or fraternity relay teams enjoyed pizza and music during the event.

“Your generation shouldn’t have to think about cancer, and they shouldn’t have to think about colon cancer, but you do,” said Nancy Greenwood, senior director for philanthropic gifts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “All the money you’re raising is going to research that will change your generation’s outcomes, and you should be very proud of that.”

Kayla Urbanski — Gamma Phi Beta philanthropy chairwoman and senior studying deaf studies — said last year, the sorority raised $10,000, and they are trying to double that amount this year.

“It’s so meaningful because one of our sisters passed away due to colon cancer; she died at 23 years old,” Urbanski said. “Most people don’t have to worry about colon cancer that young, so we are here today to not just to spread awareness but also to raise money for colon cancer research. It’s really special to us to raise as much money for her charity that she started before she passed.”

Jeromy Gensch, cofounder of Raising Awareness of Cancer Early-on Charities and brother of Glory Gensch, the Gamma Phi Beta member who died from colon cancer, said all of the money raised will be donated to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

“[Glory] knew the type of awareness we could raise at a school like the University of Arizona with groups like yours to just get the word out about the early detection of colon cancer,” Gensch said. “This is a great cause. We couldn’t do it without your support. I know that she’s looking down and very proud of her sorority sisters, and her family, and everyone that’s helped out with this, so thank you very much.”

Dr. Valentine Nfonsam, assistant professor of surgery at the Banner — Health University Medical Center, said 150,000 people get colorectal cancer in the U.S. every year, and out of those, 50,000 people die.

“If you see some blood in your stool, you want somebody to check it out,” Nfonsam said. “Don’t let your friend check it out; maybe go to a doctor to check it out for you. Make sure you have a good exam. Don’t wait until it’s too late; it’s a very curable disease. If it’s diagnosed early, you can be cured completely.”

Katie Alhadeff, a member of Gamma Phi Beta and pre-business freshman, said this is her first time participating in Go for Glow. She said her favorite part of the event is seeing how competitive the teams get in support of a good cause.

“I’m a student here just like everybody else; I love being around people,” said Stanley Johnson, a general studies freshman. “It’s a great event, so we’re all out here together trying to just have fun.”

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