Photo Credit: Rehenia Russell

Photo Credit: Rehenia Russell

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) held its “Cards of Encouragement” event on Jan . 14 that allowed students to volunteer their time making over 130 cards for patients at the Carrollton Cancer Center, 165 Clinic Ave.

Many students came to offer a hand in making encouraging cards for the patients. As the students arrived, they were directed to a table to select paper and decorations to use for the cards. Participants used stickers, ribbons, buttons, and more to aid them in their card preparations. The finished ards displayed similar messages from “Stay Strong” to “Never Give Up.” All of the students that participated had the same goal and that was to give back.

“I just like to do nice things for other people,” said Sarah Wiswall.

For several students, the event was more personal. They had known someone who had struggled with cancer before.

“I love helping people out,” said Zipporah Smith. “Once I heard it was for a good cause I ran over here. I know several people who struggled with cancer and I just wanted to give back.”

The event also allowed students a chance to celebrate the lives of those they had lost.

“Cancer runs in my family. I just recently lost a cousin to cancer,” Mariah Posey shared. She also said that the event meant a lot, because she wishes she could have done more during her cousin’s battle and it would give her a chance to give back to someone else.

Chelsea Middleton shared a similar story, saying she watched her grandfather struggle with lung cancer and that she wanted to give back the way people gave back to him.

There were also some students in attendance who had overcome their own medical conditions.

“I had cancer last year,” said Coreyanna Welch. She said that she wanted to give back, because she wishes that she had someone to make her a “stay strong” card while she was battling ovarian cancer.

Raequon Jones said that he “was not supposed to make it.” He further explained that while in his mother’s womb, he was incorrectly positioned on top of his twin brother. Despite being born with heart murmurs, he is alive and well today.

“Encouragement always helps even if they do not know me. It is nice to know someone is rooting for them,” said Jones.

Dustin Killpack, CSI’s Coordinator for Student Volunteer Programs, says his grandmother had breast cancer. Although he never had the chance to meet her, he remembers doing cancer walks as child.

“Growing up we have always done cancer walks and things like that,” said Killpack. “Encouragement is important, because it is easy to give up and not know someone is cheering for you.”

Killpack said he put the event together after reaching out to local agencies to gather more volunteer opportunities that everyone could take part in on campus.

“I have been contacting different local agencies. I talked to the Cancer Center and they said they would be really interested in getting cards for patients before and after treatments. That is why I put this together,” said Killpack.

He also mentioned that the Student Volunteer Program is interested in helping students plan their own volunteer events.

“We would love to have students volunteer… If they have ideas for volunteer projects, we woud love to have them or help them plan their own project.”

For more information on ways to get involved with CSI’s Student Volunteer Programs, visit their website at www.westga.com/csi and click on the volunteer tab. From there, students can access CSI’s Facebook page and sign up to receive e-mails through the listserv. Students may also e-mail Dustin Killpack at dkillpac@westga.edu or stop by the CSI office, which is located in Room 304 of the Campus Center.

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