Hillel raises funds for breast cancer

Correction appended

By joining forces with student groups across campus, the GW Hillel student leadership raised more than $7,500 for breast cancer research last month, the organization’s president said this week.

Marc Friend, president of Jewish Student Association, said his group partnered with fraternities and sororities on campus to give manicures, sell Challah bread and host a Pink Shabbat – a low-cost version of the traditional Friday night Jewish service – all to raise money for the cause.

Friend said the week-long fundraiser – held from Oct. 26 to Oct. 31 – culminated with 80 GW students participating in the American Cancer Society’s Washington D.C. “Making Strides” 5-kilometer run, which raised money and awareness for breast cancer research.

“It makes us very proud,” Friend said. “For a student group with the help of a few nonprofits to raise that much money is quite an accomplishment.”

Friend said one Greek-letter group in particular, the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, helped put on the Pink Shabbat, and a number of other groups volunteered their time to bake and fundraise for the cause.

To raise money during the week, donations were collected at each of the events as well as on the Hillel Web site. In addition, students in the run solicited sponsorships for their participation.

Robert Fishman, director of the GW Hillel, said students participating in the run raised $6,000, adding that the other $1,500 came from the other events during the week.

“The goal was education and donations,” Fishman said.

Hillel hoped that the week would not only raise money but also raise awareness about the disease and research efforts underway to combat it.

In order to accomplish its goals, Hillel brought Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to campus for a discussion about the disease and federal efforts underway to help treat it.

Friend said that many within the Hillel community have been personally affected by breast cancer, either themselves or through a friend or loved one. He felt that it was important the week offered a chance to educate people about the disease.

“We ended up gaining a large amount of money, but our main focus was awareness,” Friend said.

Despite the tough economic climate that can make fundraising difficult, Hillel was able to surpass its goal of raising $5,000 during the event, Fishman said. Fishman attributed the success to the many donors who made small contributions, or sponsorships for the 5-kilometer run.

“I think one of the nice things about this program is that it’s a lot of small contributions,” Fishman said. “In the end it’s definitely going to be one of those things that GW Hillel will continue to support and take a leading role in.”

The money raised will go to the American Cancer Association to support its cancer research initiatives.

The article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (Nov. 12, 2009)

The Hatchet erroneously reported that Alpha Delta Pi helped put on the Pink Shabbat event. The sorority involved was Alpha Epsilon Phi.

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