In the midst of working on final projects, studying for exams and making plans for the holidays; students are taking the time to help a fellow classmate who is battling cancer.
Adam LaRose, a senior studying communications, was diagnosed with cancer in October. Senior Matt Barros, a cancer survivor himself, co-founded a fundraiser to help LaRose in his time of need.
“I felt like I was the lead to help him,” Barros said. “It’s not just who I am or what I believe, I felt like it’s what I need to do.”
LaRose served for eight years in the Marine Corps, and now studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Barros met LaRose in his capstone course.
Barros was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. With no medical insurance, he struggled to pay for food, rent and other necessities on top of getting treatment. With his personal experience and convictions, Barros approached LaRose to offer help.
“I had a group that surrounded and supported me when I was battling cancer,” Barros said. “They fundraised for me and supported me so the everyday payments in life were easier to meet.”
Based on his personal experience and what he’s studied at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Barros knew how to convey the message and how to make people listen.
“I wanted to use what I’ve learned about public relations, broadcast-ing and social media to raise money,” Barros said. “The power of social media is incredible and I knew that if we could have people sharing his story, we could raise money.”
Barros co-founded a GoFundMe page, a website where donations can be accepted for a cause, to help raise money for LaRose.
“The initial goal was $3,000 to $4,000 dollars,” Barros said. “But after talking with my co-founder Jordan, we thought why not make it $5,000.”
The page was created on Nov. 10 and as of last Friday raised $4,286. Barros wanted to go further than social media though.
On Nov. 23, MavRadio, the student-run radio station of which Barros is the general manager, did a live-feed where they hosted radio programming to raise money for LaRose outside of the Milo Bail Student Center. They raised $375 in one hour.
As of Friday, $4,661 has been raised for LaRose. For Barros, the dream is to have each student donate a dollar.
“We live in a day an age that if you see a dollar on the ground you might debate whether or not it’s worth bending over to pick it up,” Barros said. “If you were to take that loose change and donate it to someone who really needs it, it can leave a meaningful and lasting impact.”
As of now, the goal is $5,000 by Christmas day. If each student were to donate a dollar, $12,000 would be raised for LaRose.
The easiest ways to get involved is to donate on GoFundMe, share the page on social media or ask for donations on campus and bring the donations to MavRadio’s faculty advisor Jodeane Brownlee.