Rock-A-Thon 2013 has come to a close, smashing previous records.
Thank you for helping us raise so much for the American Cancer Society.
We couldn't have done it without all of your support.
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. In the days leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. AEPi brother Danny Kranz shares a story of how even the youngest among us can be affected by Cancer.
Cancer is devastating no matter the age of the patient, but it is especially saddening when it affects the life of a young child. My cousin, Richard Blau, had his whole life before him; like many other children 12 years old, Richard had aspirations of being a professional ball player. He loved baseball. Every time he would make the long trip to St. Louis, we would go to our local park and throw the ball around. I was exhausted after an hour in the hot St. Louis sun, but it was nothing to Richard, who was used to the scorching summers of his hometown in Tucson, Arizona. Being thousands of miles away, I did not have the privilege of seeing Richard as much as I wished. This didn’t stop him from having a major impact on my life. As many baseball games as Richard played and watched, he touched infinite more lives.
In the early summer months of 2006, Richard was playing a fun loving game of basketball with his father, Jeff, when a bone in his knee was shattered. What the X Rays revealed would change Richard’s life, and everyone who had ever met him. At 12 years old, Richard was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an extremely aggressive form of bone cancer. Doctors told Richard and his parents he would be given chemotherapy to prevent the spread to other parts of the body, followed by the amputation of his leg. With Richard’s baseball aspirations in mind, his parents would not accept this news. They were determined to save Richard’s leg at all possible costs.
“We’d sell our house for him…we’d give up anything we have for him,” his father said in regards to funding Richard’s treatment.
After much research, they determined the best option was to go to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, where they had succeeded before in replacing cancerous tumors in osteosarcoma patients with adjustable steel. After numerous appeals to their insurance carrier, numerous attorney’s hired, and a website created to raise money, they were able to obtain the intended treatment.
The support around the community for Richard was endless- fundraisers, his name initialed on his teammate’s wristbands and hats, news segments featuring his story; It was all heartwarming. Richard and his loving family were very optimistic. After 5 months of chemo and only 4 more to go, Richard was to be walking again in just weeks.
It was around this time, that the family received the worst news possible. In the most unfortunate of circumstances, an X-ray revealed that Richard’s cancer had spread to other parts of his body. Months later, the cancer became even more aggressive.
Richard’s promising young life was gone.
6 years later, looking at his articles and videos, I’m struggling to hold back tears. As my roommate walks in the room, I look away, not wanting him to see my emotional side. This is what cancer does. It causes an emotional burden to everyone involved for their lives. When you see a life like Richard’s, so promising and aspiring, taken away from the ones he touched so dearly, it hurts. Children should be able to become everything they aspire to. Richard has inspired me to write this and to hopefully convince others to help in preventing the illness that robs the dreams of so many wonderful individuals like Richard.
A poem by AEPi Brother Seth Weisman
T’is the night before Rock-A-Thon and all through mizzou the Pi men are stirring there’s so much to do
There are posters to hang and cans to wrap, a stage to build and rhymes to craft
At dawn we’ll awake and rush to the stage, and from there we will can for three straight days
We’ll stand on street corners for hours and hours asking you for a few measly dollars
And when we are through we’ll count all our pennies, I bet we’ll have more than Mr Jay Gatsby
I’ll promise you this I’ll promise it here, this Rock-A-Thon will be the best in years
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. In the days leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. Senior AEPi brother Alex Goldman shares a story of the aunt he never met.
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. In the days leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. AEPi brother Jeremy Schmetterer shares how this year’s spotlighted Cancer, Lung Cancer, dramatically impacted his family.
When I was six years old, my grandmother, Joan Schmetterer, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Not only was she the absolute healthiest woman I have ever known in my entire life, but also she never touched a single cigarette. I was too young to fully understand what was happening, but I was old enough to realize that I was going to lose one of the most important people in my life. She passed a year later. A few years after that, I realized that anybody could be diagnosed with lung cancer – even somebody like my grandma Joan, who never smoked a day in her life.
When I was twelve, my grandfather, Larry Siegel, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Grandpa Larry fought a tremendous battle and even though the doctors didn’t think he was going to live more than a couple of months, an entire year later, he found the strength to make the trip from St. Louis to Chicago, to attend my Bar Mitzvah. He wanted to spend what little time he had left with me. He passed away soon after.
His wife, Judy Siegel, was diagnosed with lung cancer the following year. My Grandma Judy fought cancer incredibly hard, just as her husband had a year earlier. She passed away nearly a year after her diagnosis, peacefully in her bed with her children at her side.
Within ten years, I watched as lung cancer took from me three of the most important people in my life. I miss them so much, and I will do everything in my power to raise as much money as I can this weekend, to support the American Cancer Society. I rock for my Grandma Joan, Grandpa Larry and Grandma Judy.
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. In the days leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. AEPi brother Kyle Sutton of St. Louis shares the story of how his family’s battles with cancer inspired his passionate participation in Rock-A-Thon.
My family has unfortunately suffered through a number of cancer-related tragedies in the past. My grandpa, on my mother’s side, Jerry Kash, passed away in 1986 due to brain cancer. His wife and my grandma, Shirley, passed away two years later from breast cancer that had eventually spread to her lungs. So much of my motivation in this Rock-A-Thon comes from the stories I’ve been told about them. I unfortunately never got to meet them, but I know that they were kind, generous, and wonderful people who loved each other and those around them more than you could imagine. To her dying day, my grandma wore her wedding ring, refusing to take it off in her final days.
Additionally, my grandma on my father’s side, Barbara Sutton, passed away in the summer of 2011 due to lung cancer at the age of 80. I loved my grandma, and it was heartbreaking to see her go. From my earliest memories, I recall her making mac and cheese at every meal just for me, because she knew how much I loved it. All three of these amazing people were extremely important in shaping the person I am today, and they helped shape the lives of the two most important people in my life, my mom and dad.
As we head into this upcoming Rock-a-Thon, I am determined not to be defined by what losses I’ve suffered because of cancer, but what I’ve learned through these losses. I am determined to make this Rock-a-Thon the best yet, and through hard work we can all make this possible. I’m dedicating my efforts in this event to the memories of Jerry and Shirley Kash, Barbara Sutton, and so many others that have fought with this terrible disease.
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. In the days leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. AEPi brothers Trevor Kraus tells the story of how he and his biological/fraternity brother Connor lost their grandmother to Leukemia.
My and my brother Connor’s grandma was diagnosed with leukemia in the summer of 2006, shortly before the three of us and our grandpa were to take a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. At the time, it seemed like a minor setback, and our grandparents promised that we’d go the following summer.
The leukemia didn’t cooperate.
Countless mornings over the next 2 and a half years, my grandpa drove my grandma to downtown St. Louis, where the Siteman Cancer Center is located. It’s one of, if not THE best cancer center in the country. At times, my grandma looked great, as if she had never lost the youthful spirit and energy that was her trademark. Ultimately, even the best doctors and medicine in the world couldn’t overcome the disease.
My grandma lost her battle on February 24th, 2009, the same day the Blues beat the Coyotes 2-1 with a goal from center ice by David Perron.
Each and every one of us, in one way or another, has been impacted by Cancer. Over the next few weeks leading up to Rock-A-Thon 2013, we’ll be sharing the stories of AEPi brothers, friends, family and members of the community, as an illustration of just how important the fight against Cancer is. To start, AEPi brother Jeremy Hershey-Nexon of Evanston, Ill. tells the story of how Cancer awareness helped save his family.
My sister was only 17 when we noticed that she had some strange brown spots on her skin, spots that she definitely did not have a few weeks before. Luckily, my family was very aware about what that could possibly be, and within days, she had an appointment with a skin doctor.
She had Cancer.
We were lucky. We had caught it before metastasis. She would live, and no Chemotherapy was needed. Although the surgeries that she had to go through were quite brutal for a girl her age and the sedatives caused some very unpleasant side effects, she was cured. In the six years since she has been cancer free. My family however was not. Since, my father has also had skin cancer, but it was caught quickly, and aside a scar on his arm, it as if it never happened.
I raise money so that other families are aware enough to go to a skin doctor sooner, rather than later, when faced with skin and other cancers, and that we all recognize the signs of these treatable cancers, before they become untreatable.
Rock-A-Thon 2011 was a special moment in the history of Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Mu Deuteron chapter, raising over $80,000 for the American Cancer Society, focusing on Leukemia research. It was the most money ever raised by the chapter since the start of the biennial philanthropy in 1969. Lee Zucker spearheaded the philanthropy in 2011 and talked about his Rock-A-Thon experience:
• When asked about what Rock-A-Thon means to him, Lee explained how such a small group of people can make such a big impact. At the time of Rock-A-Thon 2011 we had about 100 brothers, and now with over 130 brothers, the expectations are that much higher for Rock-A-Thon 2013.
• Lee’s favorite moment of Rock-A-Thon 2011 was the final hour when all the AEPi brothers gathered around the stage at 9th and Broadway. Everyone was very anxious to hear how much money we had raised after months of preparation and three days of nonstop canning. With music blasting, brothers frantically seeking last minute donations and brothers celebrating their hard work, the brotherhood caused quite the commotion (along with a few annoyed drivers and delayed traffic). All the hard work was worth it and the announcement total capped the end of an incredible weekend to be in AEPi.
• Rock-A-Thon takes a great amount of effort from everyone in the fraternity, but it takes an even greater passion and dedication to be the leader of it. Lee attributes a lot of the success to the huge support from all of Mid-Missouri and Rock-A-Thon’s sponsors. Rock-A-Thon 2011 was also the first time brothers canned in St. Louis and Kansas City, which played a key role in the chapter’s success in 2011.
• Lee’s advice about Rock-A-Thon is to understand it will be the biggest impact you can make as a member of AEPi. It’s what makes AEPi Mu Deuteron special, and it’s something you will remember for the rest of your life.
-By Jeff Weinstein
Great story, Jeff! Stay tuned for more Rock-A-Thon Flashbacks from the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi!