C.A.R.E Week kicks off with carnival-themed rally, fundraising event

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Junior Kasfia Islam throws a ball in an attempt to dunk sophomore Kevin Kotal during the C.A.R.E. Week carnival Monday afternoon. Kappa Phi Gamma hosts C.A.R.E. Week, a weeklong fundraising event, to create awareness for cancer research.

Photo Credit: Shannon Kintner | Daily Texan Staff

Cancer is a matter of life and death, but raising money for cancer research can be fun and games.

Kappa Phi Gamma, a South-Asian sorority, held a carnival-themed kickoff rally for C.A.R.E. Week, the organization’s weeklong fundraising effort. C.A.R.E Week, short for Cancer Awareness: A Real Effort, continues through Friday with restaurant fundraisers, a candlelight vigil and a male pageant.

The rally offered food, a dunking booth and sorority members clad in sandwich boards decorated with information about cancer. The kickoff event raised money and advertised the group’s lineup of fundraising events, said Khushbu Joshi, sorority chapter president and business honors senior.

“Our kickoff rally usually raises around 500-600 dollars,” she said. “Over the course of the week we will raise a couple thousand dollars.”

Raising money for cancer research is the sorority’s nationwide goal, said member and biology senior Joanne Ponniah.

“We raise over 100 thousand dollars nationwide in all our chapters,” Poniah said.

This year, proceeds from C.A.R.E Week at UT will go to the Austin affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Joshi said. The foundation drew dissent when it decided to cut funding from Planned Parenthood earlier this year and then yielded to public pressure by reversing that decision. Joshi said the controversy did not influence her sorority’s choice to donate to Komen.

“We always pick something that’s local,” Joshi said. “We don’t like to repeat organizations, and one of our sisters is working for Komen right now.”

Supporting cancer research is a unifying cause because it is an inclusive affliction, Joshi said.

“I don’t think people are aware of how prominent cancer is and how pretty much anyone can get it,” she said. “Cancer doesn’t affect just one segment of the population. Any gender, any race, any age — it doesn’t discriminate.”

Nicholas Spiller, a rhetoric and writing junior, said student organizations like Kappa Phi Gamma foster a culture of philanthropy that endures after graduation.

“Growing up, we’re told to only look after ourselves,” Spiller said. “We’re told to get out, get a degree, get a job, and do your work. There’s a lot of value in doing something like C.A.R.E. Week, where you’re giving back to society as a whole. It sets a precedent, and if we have most student organizations supporting things like this, there’s probably a higher chance that they’re going to support it the rest of their lives.”

Printed on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 as: Carnival raises funds for Komen