Cancer does not discriminate, but rather overwhelms people from all walks of life with financial, emotional, and physical stress.
Students together against canceran organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was founded in 2012 with the hopes of “providing emotional and financial relief to local cancer patients,” according to its website.
The organization offers STAC grants, $400 donations in the form of grocery gift cards or checks for utility bills, according to Sarah Hoagland, a biology major and president of STAC.
“We recently passed an important milestone in the history of the organization. We donated to the 100th patient, which represents $40,000 donated to cancer patients in the Lincoln community,” Hoagland said, “and I was really, really proud to be a part of it.
STAC works with local hospitals and treatment centers to reach cancer patients who are in need and eligible for a STAC grant, according to Hoagland.
After hitting the $40,000 donations milestone, Hoagland said, she was surprised when she shortly after received five grant applications in the space of two weeks, an unusually high number for the organization.
“It’s great that we’re coming out a little bit more because we haven’t turned down anyone who has met the STAC restrictions and grant requirements yet,” Hoagland said.
To raise donations, the organization holds its biggest fundraising events in the fall and spring and occasionally partners with other organizations, such as Relay For Life, according to Melissa Bevins, a nutrition junior. , Exercise and Health Science and Vice President of STAC.
“Some of the events are super fun to host and you know it’s going towards a good cause that you can see,” Bevins said.
Hoagland said once a patient receives a grant, members of the organization often take them and their families to lunch at a restaurant, usually Village Inn.
“It’s really interesting and powerful to hear their stories and how cancer can be so detrimental to your life,” Bevins said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and immunocompromised cancer patients, Hoagland said the organization has begun reaching out to patients who are not comfortable meeting in person by phone, Zoom or even writing letters, which is always meaningful.
“Every time I meet a patient, I think it’s very memorable,” Hoagland said.
Hoagland, who aspires to work in the health field and has been with STAC since her second year of high school, said the organization has helped solidify her professional interests.
“I really think being involved with STAC helped that decision, just being able to help people face to face,” Hoagland said.
The organization currently has 15 members, according to Hoagland, who constantly help organize events and raise funds.
“We’re a very small club, but I mean we’ve always been small and we still managed to give away $40,000,” Hoagland said.
Bevins said it has been a “really rewarding experience” to be part of the organization and to help so many local patients.
“We want to continue donating to as many people as possible because we know how much it helps,” Hoagland said.
Bhavana Sunil contributed to this article.