September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This is a month that is very near and dear to Campus Director Lisa Picard and Career Services Student Services Representative Amanda Holman from Ross Medical Education Center in Roosevelt Park, Michigan as both of them have been personally affected by the devastation that is felt as a family member during the time of diagnosis and treatment. They are especially appreciative for one organization that stepped in during this time. That organization was the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T) at Helen Devos Childrens Hospital.
This team assists, provides, and promotes compassionate, personalized support to families with children diagnosed with cancer or a life threatening blood disorder. P.O.R.T. delivers canvas tote bags filled with a variety of personal care items and snacks to the families. They also have a Sibling Support Program, provide quilts and blankets, engage in parent and family networking, provide respite so parents have a little time away for themselves, offer cafeteria passes and gas cards, and provide family fun activities throughout the year. P.O.R.T. is entirely supported by grants and donations. They rely on the community to make their effort work as they assist more than 275 families on average per year.
Due to the work of P.O.R.T. and the services received by the families of Lisa and Amanda, it was decided that they would be the recipient of the month long drive utilizing a “Wish List” provided by the organization. Colleen Thompson from P.O.R.T. visited the Roosevelt Park campus so that students had a greater understanding of what they do and who they are.
Roosevelt Park Campus Director Lisa Picard once again challenged Andrea Heckenmueller, Campus Director at Ross Medical Education Center in Kentwood, Michigan, and her team to engage in the drive. In addition, the challenge was also put forth to Amira Curic and the Grand Rapids North campus of Ross Medical Education Center. The goal for the drive was to donate 9,000 items to P.O.R.T. through donations from the campuses and community members. It became Roosevelt Park versus Kentwood and Grand Rapids North where there were weekly presentations in the classrooms that served to get all the students motivated. The loser agreed to receive a “pie in the face” at the end of the competition.
On September 26th, all three campuses gathered at the new Grand Rapids North campus for a formal presentation of the items received for P.O.R.T. Between the three campuses, they were ecstatic to be able to donate not just 9,000 items but over 150,000 items to P.O.R.T. The staff representing P.O.R.T. was overwhelmed noting that this was one of the largest in-kind donations that they had received. Ross leadership came to be a part of this great day as the campuses were able to announce the final donation number and present this great organization with all of the items.
The Roosevelt Park campus once again won the internal competition and both Andrea and Amira gladly took the pie in the face. Lisa also took a pie at her campus as it was stated that if they hit their goal, the class with the largest participation rate would be able to “pie” her and the Assistant Campus Director of Education, Rhiannon Daszko. According to Lisa Picard, “this event was amazing to say the least! The energy on the campus was something I had never experienced before in my time here. Students were calling after class, putting it on facebook, sending messages trying to see what the other class was doing, finding out numbers of the other classes as they tried to “one up” the other class. Everyone was engaged and having a great time with the competition. I feel that this is exactly what Ross represents in the Core Value of Social Responsibility and was evident on this day.”
The campuses are already excited for next year’s events and thoroughly enjoyed working together and competing against one another this year.