Mississippi College

Students Aid Fight Against Cancer

March 31, 2008

Scores of Mississippi College students are joining America's fight against cancer with a 12-hour relay on the Clinton campus.

The event begins Friday April 11 in the Choctaws baseball field parking lot and ends at 6 a.m. the following Saturday morning. At least 150 MC students are expected to lace up their sneakers and start walking.

Karmen Todd, president of the Colleges Against Cancer chapter at MC, is spearheading the event in cooperation with American Cancer Society organizers.

An MC junior, Todd has good reason to join the crusade against cancer. During her senior year at Clinton High, her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

The ACS reports cancers of the lung, breast, colon and prostate will be the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Mississippi this year. The ACS reports an estimated 14,970 new cancer cases and 6,200 cancer deaths in Mississippi this year.

Taking a leadership role in the new MC event also made sense for Jennifer Pote, an MC junior from Starkville. The Lady Choctaws soccer player has been involved with Habitat for Humanity and other causes since high school. A psychology major with plans to attend law school, Pote said: "I wanted to make a difference and try to get people involved."

Pote said the goal is for each person in the relay to each collect a $10 donation for the American Cancer Society. They will continue to raise funds after the event, she said. Nearby, a news crew from WJTV-12 in Jackson was on campus Friday afternoon to interview Todd, Pote, and other MC student leaders involved in the ACS campaign.

Kelly Lindsay, the state communications and marketing director for the American Cancer Society at its Jackson office, said she's hoping MC's effort in early April will spur other colleges to form campus chapters. "It's never too late to form a team," Lindsay said.

The ACS is always seeking more volunteers and donors to combat cancer and promote awareness about the deadly disease. Reports show there will be 163,510 lung cancer deaths in the United States this year or more than any other type of cancer.

In 2005, an estimated 2,070 Mississippians died from lung cancer. Breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer in women other than skin cancer with about 2,350 new cases expected in Mississippi this year. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men, excluding skin cancer. An estimated 3,210 Mississippi men were diagnosed with the disease in 2005.

For more information, contact the ACS office in Jackson at 601-321-5516.

PHOTO: Karmen Todd, senior from Clinton; Nathan Kelley, senior from Birmingham; Josh Burkes, freshman from Brandon; David Jordan, prospective student from Florence; Emily Jones, senior from Clinton; Rachael Riley, senior from Clinton; and Jennifer Pote, junior from Starkville.

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