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Join the fight: campus society supports those affected by cancer

Join the Fight is a society on campus dedicated to supporting students who have been affected by cancer.

Evan Seamons, the Join the Fight Society president and a senior studying biology, said students who benefit from the group are those who are currently dealing with cancer, have dealt with cancer or have relations with individuals who have had or currently have cancer.

Seamons established Join the Fight two years ago.

“I started it when my organic chemistry teacher, Brother Pugh’s, son contracted lymphoma and leukemia,” Seamons said.

Seamons said he helps run the society because it is his way of giving back and remembering his brother, who had a brain tumor, and his grandfather who had colon cancer, who passed away.

He said he knows there are many people on the BYU-I campus who have had similar experiences to his own.

Seamons said that many students on campus are affected by cancer, whether having been directly diagnosed or by knowing someone who has cancer.

Tori Sheets, a junior studying sociology, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2013.

She said that before her diagnosis, she was happy all the time, but as things played out, she lost her energy.

“I could feel myself getting weaker and slower,” Sheets said.

She said it did not slow her down and that she ignored her pain because she wanted to live her life the way she chose.

“This is not a big deal,” Sheets said.

She said she was accepted to Julliard School and New York Academy of Dramatic Arts before her diagnosis.

She said that in the spring of 2014, not much longer after her initial diagnosis, she was forced to slow down because of all the testing and chemotherapy.

“I didn’t want to do chemotherapy,” Sheets said. “I thought it would be cruel to put poison in my body to suppress [the tumor].”

She said that after the chemotherapy, her body and mind were drained so much that she could not do anything.

“Cancer sucks,” Sheets said. “Nothing can prepare you for what it’s like.”

When people find out they have cancer it can make them feel vulnerable and overwhelmed, according to the American Cancer Society.

Seamons said cancer affects more than the individuals diagnosed with cancer.

Whitney Egbert, a senior studying art education, said her paternal grandfather was diagnosed with testicular cancer that spread to his entire body through his bones.

“I have never had someone close to me pass away, so I don’t know how to process it yet,” Egbert said.

Egbert said she does not know how she feels yet, but she is not trying to ignore the situation.

She said her thought process has been to help other family members through her grandpa’s treatment because she wants to suppress the difficult emotions she might be feeling.

“When you make others feel good, you feel good,” Egbert said.

Seamons said Join the Fight is a group that models their support after organizations like the American Cancer Society’s Reach to Recovery program. The goal is to give support in a way the individual needs.

Understanding more can help individuals cope with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Sheets said that if she had known this society was available through her treatments, she would have gone.

Egbert said she would not actively seek out a group like Join the Fight, but if a close friend or respected individual suggested it, she would probably go.

“Wherever you take the time to talk to someone about your problems, it helps,” Egbert said.

Seamons said that anyone and everyone is welcome to contact their society at his email,

He said they will have a bone marrow drive where students can come swab their cheek and see if they match with someone with blood cancer.

“Students should attend the event because it is a 1 in 100,000 chance they will match with someone, but if they do match it is a 99.9 percent chance that they can save that person’s life,” Seamons said.

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