A local organization found a way to provide financial assistance to struggling cancer patients while cheering on the Colorado State Rams football team before Saturday’s game.
RamStrength recognized CSU, and other Fort Collins community members that have battled cancer, at their 6th Annual Tailgate and Game Day fundraiser.
The tailgate celebrated the accomplishments of the six students that received the Cancer Survivor Scholarship this year, as well as the children RamStrength sponsored to go the Sky High Hope Camp held in Golden, Colorado this past summer.
Tickets to the tailgate included food, drinks and a RamStrength shirt.
Participants could buy tickets to the game as well as the tailgate through RamStrength, and CSU donated a portion of all tickets bought through RamStrength back to the organization.
After the tailgate, the Sky High Hope campers and Cancer Survivor Scholarship recipients were recognized on the field before the game.
Last year, the tailgate raised $10,000. RamStrength Executive Director Michelle Boyle said she hoped the tailgate would raise about $20,000 this year, which would cover all of the scholarships the organization will give out next year.
The Cancer Survivor Scholarship, also known as the Lubick Foundation Scholarship, is awarded through CSU’s Financial Services, but is funded through RamStrength. The organization awards six $2500 scholarships per year.
Sophomore Human Development and Family Studies major Siara Dinnsen was one of the scholarship recipients this year. The tailgate was her first experience in the RamStrength community.
“It’s fun to see everyone [at the tailgate],” Dinnsen said. “All the people are nice, and I’m excited to go on the field later.”
Heather Benidt, who does independent marketing for the organization, as well as volunteer coordinating for events, said that this was the biggest tailgate they have hosted so far with over 350 tickets sold.
Michelle Boyle, the Executive Director of RamStrength, started the organization in 2006 when her younger brother and CSU football coach, Marc Lubick, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Boyle said he is currently in remission, but the organization continues to support community members that are battling of have battled cancer.
“Coming to events like this and seeing what they’ve been through gives me energy,” Boyle said. “It’s a privilege to be able to help people.”
Benidt said that if someone needs help from RamStrength, financially or otherwise, to contact the organization on their website.
“I’ve done this for almost five years, and I would volunteer no matter what,” Benidt said. “It’s kind of like a family.”
Collegian Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.