SCCAC debuts Chilly Run 5k


by Ethan Zierke, Staff Reporter

February is National Cancer Prevention month, and Simpson College Cancer Awareness Club president Chelsea Hamerlinck is taking her efforts beyond raising awareness.

With the help of the SCCAC, Hamerlinck is planning a 5K Chilly Run to raise funds that will benefit cancer patients in the Des Moines area. This will be the first year for this event.

“Since there’s not a lot going on in February, we wanted to do a bigger event to raise money for John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines,” Hamerlinck said. “It’s one of the largest cancer hospitals in the Des Moines area and all of the funds we raise will be donated to patients.”

This is one of the many events that the club will produce this academic year.

The SCCAC held a T-shirt sale to raise funds for child cancer research and hosted a breast cancer awareness football game, which has been one of their most successful fundraisers.

The club plans to increase skin cancer awareness in the spring and introduce a Check Your Nuts campaign in April that will focus on testicular cancer prevention and early detection.

The club has not always been so expansive, however. Hamerlinck was named successor of a breast cancer awareness fundraising event during her second year at Simpson and grew the SCCAC into what it is today.

“It originally started out as just the breast cancer awareness club,” Hamerlinck said. “This year, however, we decided to branch out to all types of cancer.”

Many club members’ personal experiences with cancer have led to their involvement with the SCCAC.

“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in fifth grade,” Vice President Megan Bradley said. “My aunt was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer a year later, and she passed away. I wanted to get involved here because it’s obviously impacted me. It’s something I really care about.”

Hamerlinck is familiar with the effects of cancer on family as well, but her leadership role in the SCCAC has fulfilled more than a desire to help others.

“I wanted to help other families that had been affected and other students that had the same feelings I did,” Hamerlinck said. “Events like these have given me experience on the administrative side of nonprofit organizations for cancer awareness.

Hamerlinck plans to pursue a graduate degree in social work and believes her time spent working with cancer patients and organizing fundraising events has served as valuable training that she hopes to use in the future.

“It’s given me a real-life experience of how cancer impacts the lives of others and how I can help,” she said. “It’s a crisis. It’s very life changing, and sometimes I can use my counseling skills to help and not make it evident that’s what I’m doing.”

The club primarily raises funds for organizations that answer to the needs of families of cancer patients. These organizations use donated funds to prepare meals and clean houses for affected families. Hamerlinck hopes that her passion for helping others will be a legacy that is taken up after she graduates in the spring.

“For students I hope that they get the pleasure of helping people that are going through this struggle,” she said. “A lot of the students have had similar experiences either with family or friends and some people don’t have anybody to give the support they need. Once I’m gone I hope they keep it going.”

The Chilly Run will take place on Feb. 27 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the Kent Campus Center.

For more information or to register for the event, visit