Event Recap: Miss Greek 2016

This year Cancer for College partnered with the University of Washington’s Delta Tau Delta house for their annual Miss Greek fundraiser. One girl from eleven participating sororities was nominated to fundraise, campaign and compete in the annual pageant. This year the competition reached an all-time-high for creative fundraising, where Vodoo doughnut feeds, wing fests and hot dog truck parties were just some of the unique events featured over this 8-month fundraising campaign.

Each girl truly brought her own passion and love for philanthropy to the campaign. It was incredibly inspiring to see young adults with such busy lives, making time for this great cause.

On May 24th after months of fundraising it was officially time for the Miss Greek pageant. Each girl had the rare opportunity to showcase her talent; philanthropic address and personality walk for over 900 friends, family and donors at the Neptune Theatre.  Not only were the girls being viewed by their peers, friends and family but they were also being scored by an elite judging panel which included Miss Teen Washington USA, Claire Wright, Seattle Sounders player, Dylan Remick and King 5 News anchor Sula Kim.  Once the performances were complete and the girls had given their final philanthropic address, scores were counted and the top five were announced. Making the cut was, (Below, from left to right) Talia Vestal- Gamma Phi Beta, Daisha Campbell- Kappa Alpha Theta, Piper Wysaske Delta Gamma, Anissa Sangster – Pi Beta Phi and Katie Christensen- Alpha Chi Omega.miss greek 1

The top five qualifiers were then asked one last on stage question to determine who would become Miss Greek 2016. After the judges tallied fundraising dollars, talents, personality walk, philanthropic address and now the final Q&A answer, the winner was in. Katie Christensen of Alpha Chi Omega was the new Miss Greek 2016 raising over $20,000 for Cancer for College.

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Miss Greek 2016 – Katie Christenson               Alpha Chi Omega

In total the girls raised over $70,000 for Cancer for College setting a new standard for philanthropic excellence at the University of Washington.


Miss Greek has been a recognized philanthropic symbol throughout the 30 years it has been ran by Delta Tau Delta. This philanthropy is much more than just another event on campus, but is one that unites the University of Washington Greek community to fight for a good cause. With the combined efforts we have been recognized as one of the most successful philanthropic events on the West of the Mississippi, with over $1.7 million raised through it’s history. We are excited to keep the tradition going with it’s ongoing success and happy to support Cancer for College along the way.- Hayden Kasmark, Delta Tau Delta – Miss Greek Chair.

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About the author: having battled childhood Leukemia, Abigail Houck is an advocate for pediatric cancer patients and survivors. Though the odds may have been stacked against her, she always knew she would live to share her story and aid those who followed in her path. As the Northwest Director of Cancer for College, Abigail is determined to make her gift of life count by providing college scholarships to cancer patients who experienced the very same hardships she once did.



Survivor Spotlight: Maggie Brilhart

Today is the day Friday the 13th becomes known as a lucky day. I am sure of it. Do you know why? Because today we are preparing to celebrate 6 years of providing scholarships to cancer survivors in North and South Carolina with our 6th Annual Casino Night in the Carolinas fundraiser. Not only do we get to provide scholarships to students all over the United States, but we have people from coast to coast who are just as committed as we are to fighting the effects of cancer and launching dreams. Tonight, we get to come together once again to make more college dreams come true.

One of the people who will be in attendance at Casino Night is well known in the Cancer for College family. Maggie Brilhart is returning to join us as a CFC alumna, winning a Carolinas scholarship twice, and graduate of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy as a Doctor of Pharmacy! Many of you will be able to speak with her in person at the event, but we did not want anyone to miss out on getting to hear about her experiences since graduating. Even though she is busy working, Maggie was kind enough to send us an update on her life. She is such a great writer, and her compelling story speaks so much of her courage and refusal to let cancer drag her down. Check out her story below:

As we make our way into May, I think of so many important events that have occurred since I received my first Cancer for College scholarship in May of 2012. I was a second year pharmacy student who had recently been diagnosed with stage IIIA melanoma. Since then, I have graduated from pharmacy school, moved from South Carolina to Houston, Texas, gained a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, completed a year long pharmacy residency, moved to a new state, and accepted my first “real” job. May is an important month for me because it is melanoma awareness month. While most other people are gearing up to lay out by the pool and bake in the sun, I am buying sunscreen in bulk. Too many people forget that melanoma is the most common cause of cancer-related death in women aged 29 – 34, and that it is often preventable. The month of May should serve as a reminder to protect your skin and have it checked regularly, regardless of complexion, hair color, or age.

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Maggie (right) with her mom and sister

The past year has been full of changes and adjustments. In June of 2015, I progressed to stage IV melanoma and simultaneously finished my pharmacy practice residency at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Due to this progression, I took time off to rest and recover. Unlike the rigorous schedule of residency, I now had the time to tour Napa Valley with my sister, visit friends up and down the east coast, and celebrate weddings with friends and family. In the fall, I felt ready to go back to work, and accepted an outpatient oncology pharmacist position at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina. The transition back into independence and going back to work was easily the best experience I have had in the last year.

Working as an oncology pharmacist has been a goal of mine for several years. I was already in pharmacy school when I was diagnosed, but as soon as I spent time volunteering and working with cancer patients, I was hooked. I find that cancer patients are grateful, hopeful, inspiring, and tough. I sought opportunities in oncology and was very fortunate to match at MD Anderson, surrounded by some of the best oncology teams and researchers in the country. At my current job, I am able to work with doctors, their teams, and patients. We work on chemotherapy planning, patient counseling, and coordination of care, among other things. It is the best way I can think of to help support patients while fulfilling my personal goals through my profession.

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Maggie and two of her co-workers from Wake Forest Baptist Health.

For all of the new scholarship recipients, congratulations! I hope that you are able to enjoy the full experience of college. Having been through cancer, we all have learned, one way or another, that life is a gift. Though I didn’t go into college with that experience, my advice is to keep your priorities straight, but always make time for fun. Pursue interests and hobbies, and search for a major or even a career that makes you feel fulfilled and proud. And lastly, enjoy it, because the real world is tough (but lets be serious – who is tougher than you??)

That is the truth! There is no one tougher than you, and Maggie is a hopeful example for every cancer survivor who is determined to achieve their dreams despite cancer’s attempts to derail them. See you tonight, Maggie!

To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors like Maggie, please visit cancerforcollege.org. You can also make an impact specifically in the lives of students either from or attending school in North or South Carolina by donating to the CFC Carolina Scholarship Fund at crowdrise.com/CAROLINAS.

Pro Pic - CircleAbout the author: Mitch Friesen is a childhood cancer survivor, CFC scholarship recipient (2011-2014), and now works for Cancer for College as their Director of Growth & Community. Mitch graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business Management and minor in Theology. A lifelong learner and lover of adventure, when Mitch is not catching up with all of the awesome CFC recipients, he can be found enjoying the outdoors with his bombshell of a wife (Abbey), watching/playing soccer, and drinking coffee.

Quinceanera for College

Time flies when you are having fun, and I had A LOT of fun over the past week. What did I do? What was so important last week that I completely ignored posting a new blog? In case you do not follow Cancer for College on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter  you may not have heard that last Friday we hosted our biggest event ever! And it was incredible.

With the help of our ever-awesome spokesman, Will Ferrell, we partnered with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and their charity, Silverlake Conservatory of Music to unleash Will Ferrell & Chad Smith’s Red Hot Benefit Comedy + Music Show & Quinceanera. Such an audaciously-named event was accompanied by a cadre of talented comedians and an all-star lineup of drummers, and you can read a great recap of the actual event on Rolling Stone; today is also the last day you can watch the entire drum-off on Funny Or Die. You do not want to miss the opportunity to see this clash of world-class drummers.


The stars of the quinceanera, Chad Smith & Will Ferrell. || Photo by Andy Keilan

As a new employee of Cancer for College, this was the first time I was involved in the preparation of such a massive event. Backstage, there was not a moment before, during, or for hours after the show that there were not teams of intently focused people running around making sure every detail was perfect. From production experts to volunteers, no hands were idle the entire day, but what surprised me most was that some of those hands belonged to the very people who were performing in front of a packed house later that night. There was no distinction between celebrity and people like me backstage as everyone was equally committed to making the night amazing.

People in the audience that night were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime combination of music and comedy, and we have heard many different “favorite moments.” My favorite moment, though, was one that you could only have seen if you were backstage. It was when I got to see Will Ferrell interacting with one of the Cancer for College recipients who volunteered to help out at the show. This recipient had met Will years before when she first found out that she had won a Cancer for College scholarship, and now they were both working together to ensure that many more cancer survivors would be able to achieve their dream of a college education, and get back to thriving after cancer.

It was a great reminder that amidst the thunderous drumming and raucous laughter (after seeing Will Ferrell don a sparkly, baby blue quinceanera dress) everyone was there to show support for cancer survivors they have not even met yet. Simply buying a ticket, getting involved, and using your gifts is all that is required to make a lasting difference in someone’s life. So, after you are finished watching the drum-off (click here) why not head over to cancerforcollege.org to either make a donation or see how you can get involved in one of our next events. Plus, don’t you want to say you were involved in the event that was somehow just as good as a quinceanera for a couple of old, white guys?

Pro Pic - CircleAbout the author: Mitch Friesen is a childhood cancer survivor, CFC scholarship recipient (2011-2014), and now works for Cancer for College as their Director of Growth & Community. Mitch graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business Management and minor in Theology. A lifelong learner and lover of adventure, when Mitch is not catching up with all of the awesome CFC recipients, he can be found enjoying the outdoors with his bombshell of a wife (Abbey), watching/playing soccer, and drinking coffee.

Safe Spring Break with Sunscreen

Everyone wishes they could work at the beach but do you really want to lug all of your books, files, and laptop out there? All you really want to do is be free from all of those burdens! Right around this time every year, millions of college students wrest their intense focus away from their studies just long enough to rejuvenate themselves for the final part of the year; we call this “Spring Break.”

It is often difficult for students to understand the value of letting go of their studies for even a short time. Collegians nowadays practically live in the library and sustain themselves on a steady diet of pressure, knowledge, and coffee so that they can realize their dream of working 60 hours a week in an office for the rest of their lives. It is up to us, their friends and family, to encourage them to experience the world beyond the confines of their campus during Spring Break this year. We owe it to them to ensure that all they carry with them to the beach in Mexico, Florida, California, or Hawaii is a fresh bottle of Will Ferrell’s Super Mega Sexy Hot Tan Sunscreen.


Bring Will Ferrell on Spring Break and you will have a legendary time!

Caring for college students is as easy as providing them with the tools they need to survive in any situation, at any time. During Spring Break, this looks like:

  • taking away the textbooks they earnestly desire to pack in their suitcase
  • building up their confidence to make new friends outside of their study group. and
  • making sure that all of their time in the sun does not lead to skin cancer.

All of this is easily accomplished with a couple bottle of Will Ferrell’s own Sunscreen. It fills up space, is a great conversation starter, looks good with any swimsuit pattern and colors, and MOST IMPORTANTLY0 keeps your skin from looking like an overcooked Cheez-it!

It is more important than ever to get college students outside this Spring Break. The future of America — and the world as we know it — depends on these graduates to be refreshed, tan, and cancer free as they take us and our country to impossibly awesome heights!

Get the Spring Break Sunscreen Special: 2 bottles of Will Ferrell’s Super Mega Sexy Hot Tan Sunscreen for only $20! Order yours at http://www.cancerforcollege.org/store.html

Even Our Sunscreen
Promo ends April 8, so get your orders in quick!

To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of young cancer survivors, please visit cancerforcollege.org.


Taste to Educate 2016 Highlights

Cancer for College’s 9th annual “Taste to Educate” event was one for the books. On January 30th over 100 guests sipped on fine wine from leading wineries in the Northwest all while enjoying a premier four course dinner, catered by Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes. The evening featured an exclusive performance by Los Angeles based group, Rocky’s Revival, whose lead keyboardist and vocalist, Kalina Campion, happens to be a Cancer for College 2015 scholarship recipient as well. CFC is incredibly lucky to have the support of Seattle Children’s Hospital, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Strong- Bridge Consulting, Windermere Foundation, Wells Fargo and Continental Van lines. Featured wineries included Fielding Hills Winery, Tsillan Cellars, Chelan Estate and Cairdeas Winery.
Thank you to everyone that came out to support Cancer for College’s 9th annual “Taste to Educate” event. With your generous support we raised over $50,000 for cancer survivors in the Pacific Northwest!
Were you unable to make it to the event? Head over to our Facebook page to see more
great pictures from the evening, and then add your own donation for cancer survivors at our Cancer for College Crowdrise page.

Celebrating in Seattle

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Awesome Friday night in Seattle! Thanks to Pete Carroll, Stefan Lessard, Duff McKagan, Mike McReady, Chad Smith, the amazing Brandi Carlile and of course Will Ferrell, for making the evening unforgettable. Thank you to all who bought tickets and came out in support of our mission to provide college scholarships to cancer survivors. Like our incredible band, you rock!

Recently at Cancer for College…

Sunday, June 1, marked National Cancer Survivors Day, a day created to celebrate all cancer survivors and to inspire those newly diagnosed. With more than 14 million cancer survivors in the U.S. alone, there is cause for celebration. Sunday’s Los Angeles Times featured an article by Karen Kaplan on survivors, citing figures from a recent study by the American Cancer Society. Please click here to read the article in its entirety. Following are some highlights:

  • A cancer survivor is anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer and is still alive — meaning a person becomes a cancer survivor the moment they are diagnosed.
  • There are 14.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S.
  • In 2014, 64% of cancer survivors have lived at least five years since their diagnosis, and 15% of those have lived at least 20 years since diagnosis. 46% of those will see their 70th birthday.

Cancer for College has had a full season celebrating survivors in our own way. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Scholarship Application Review Nearly Complete

We received and processed 501 scholarship applications this year! Our dedicated committee members have spent the past few months reviewing and scoring applicant packages, and we are very close to announcing the recipients for the coming school year.

It is a continual source of inspiration to read the stories of young men and women who have faced so much in their young lives, yet come through with resiliency and enthusiasm. Read a post here about our scholarship review process.

Carolina Scholarships Awarded

May 16 marked our 4th annual Casino Night in the Carolinas event, and this year we were thrilled to award $46,000 in scholarship money to 15 college-bound cancer survivors. This event has proven so well supported by the Charlotte that this year we awarded the region’s first perpetual scholarship. Jacklyn Baillot, a rising freshman at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, will receive $4,000 per year for four years. She is an osteosarcoma survivor and plans to study biology.

Click here to see the full list of Carolina scholarship recipients, and join everyone at Cancer for College as we send all recipients best wishes for a great summer and fantastic school year to come.

Event chair Scott Sproule and recipient Kenna Holtzclaw NBC Charlotte.

Will Ferrell vs. Chad Smith Drum Off on The Tonight Show

You just have to see it:


The idea of a drum off was sparked innocently, and ended up garnering much attention for our charity and raising $150,000 for both Cancer for College and Chad Smith’s cause, Little Kids Rock.

We think you all rock!