The Amazing Race (to Early Detection)

Cancer impacts the lives of many in one way or another – myself included. 15-40 Connection, local non-profit based in Westborough, Massachusetts, focuses on improving cancer survival rates by providing the community with resources to detect cancer in its earliest stages. Why might you ask? Simply because cancer survival rates amongst people between the ages of 15 and 40 have not improved since 1975 – a fact the organization is dedicated to addressing.

15-40 Connection, as stated in 15-40 Connection and Nichols Undergrads Refuse to Let Cancer Win, teamed up with Bryant Richards’ undergraduate event planning class in an effort to raise awareness of the organization, and their mission, through six events that called the campus and surrounding community to action. On Wednesday April 10th, the Nichols campus put on their running shoes and raced for the early detection of cancer in The Amazing Race (to Early Detection). The event, organized by myself and other Nichols’ seniors Kelly Vaillancourt and Alison Peplinski, along with Nichols’ junior Abby Gould, kicked off in the Fels Student Center lounge. Here teams gathered, were checked in and introduced to the organization’s mission. In addition, to make the event more personal and relatable, I provided a video highlighting my personal story of a genetic mutation, which causes high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, prior to the start of the race.

The race consisted of eight secret information locations that combined both physical and intellectual skill, to both find and complete a task at each information location The race incorporated social media by creating a Twitter hash tag (#FindMe1540) where participants were required to send pictures of themselves at each stop in the race. This hash tag allowed viewers, inside the Fels lounge or from anywhere really, to witness teams’ progress as they were out racing – one of the most entertaining portions of the race. The race featured prizes for the first three teams to finish, which kept the event highly competitive. In less than 45 minutes the three winning teams had already completed the race. The remaining volunteers, event coordinators and I cheered for participants as they started returning. Mary Fehr, Taylor Brown and Stacey McGrath finished the race first securing a $90 cash prize while Megan Woodruff, Alex Cifone and Anna Dyakiv completed the race seconds later. The second place team won three $15 gift cards to Jimmy’s Pizza. The third place team, Kat Floridia, Andrew Pfeffer and Nick Saint Jean, came in directly behind the second place team and won three $10 gift cards to Yummy’s Chinese. All winners were ecstatic over their success. Like the real race to detection the key is participation by all.

Overall, The Amazing Race (to Early Detection) was enjoyed by all. Participants continued to tweet to the FindMe1540 hash tag following the race regarding their enjoyment, the wonderful cause they had supported and their desire for more events like this to happen on the Nichols campus.