Walking for a Cause: BCAN 2013


On May 4, 2013, the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (BCAN) – the first national organization dedicated to advocating bladder cancer research, support and education – will be holding a series of nationwide walks to raise awareness for the disease, its fighters, survivors and their families. One of these walks will take place in Washington, D.C., and has a special significance to Georgetown student Sarah Sharp (NHS, ’15). Sharp is this year’s official organizer of the 2013 BCAN National Capital Area Walk in DC, and she has personally had her life affected by bladder cancer. To learn more about the event, BCAN and how Georgetown students can get involved, we sat down with Sarah for a special interview:

What is BCAN and what is the BCAN Walk?
BCAN stands for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network and, for the past few years, they have held an annual walk across the country to raise money and awareness for the cause. The National Capital Area Walk in DC is this Saturday, May 4 at 10am at the FDR Memorial.  It is a 1.5 to 2 mile walk that continues around the Tidal Basin. Hopefully it will be a beautiful day to walk!

How did you become involved with BCAN?
During my senior year of high school, my dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which came as a shock to my family. It has been a hard battle, but he is doing very well as of now. Unfortunately, bladder cancer has a very high recurrence rate, so it is something that requires lifelong maintenance. My family became involved in the organization about a year ago, participating in the walk in our local area. BCAN noticed my involvement last year and asked me to be this year’s walk organizer for DC. I am really excited about being a part of such a great organization.

How can Georgetown students help the initiative? 
As of now, anyone can still register for the walk here or on the day of the event at the Walk. We have a Georgetown Team Fundraising page that students have joined to help raise money for the cause!

What do you expect the event to be like?
I am really excited about the walk this year and am hoping for a good turnout! We have about 200 walkers at this point and it will be a great way to see survivors, family members and those still fighting the battle. Since bladder cancer does not always get the attention it deserves, it will be a really effective way to raise awareness.

Why are BCAN and events like the BCAN Walk so important – for you personally – and also for the survivors and the community in general?
BCAN and events like the BCAN Walk are so important to me personally because it is absolutely terrifying for a child, no matter how old, to hear that her dad, and hero, has cancer. This is an unfortunate reality that so many people have to face everyday, and if I can make even a small difference in raising money and awareness for this cause, less people will have to hear those words. As I mentioned, bladder cancer does not receive much attention, which makes this event even more important. Getting the word out and walking for the cause can really help to make strides in treatment and support all those families affected.

Celebrate, Remember and Fight like a Hoya

Wanna spend the night with me? Well, tomorrow’s your lucky night.

As most of you have probably noticed (you can’t really miss the bright purple signs, white and blue balloons, multi-colored STOP sign flyers, $48 in 48 hours challenge, etc.), 2012 Relay for Life at Georgetown is just around the corner tomorrow.

This year’s Relay for Life has raised over $157,000 with the top team Hoya Blue raising over $12,000 (props to them!) The event has a $400,000 goal. Since 2006, Georgetown has raised over $1.5 million for the American Cancer Society.

What exactly is Relay? Relay for Life is an overnight event in which teams of people take turns walking around a track in efforts to raise awareness and donations for the American Cancer Society.

Why should you relay? “One person can make a difference.” Here’s a little back story to Relay for Life. In the mid-1980‘s, Dr. Gordy Platt, with a desire to support his cancer patients, circled a track in Tacoma for 24 hours. In just those 24 hours, Dr. Platt raised $27,000 to fight cancer. The success of this event inspired the first Relay for Life in 1986.

Why do Hoyas relay? Hoyas relay for loved ones. Hoyas relay for survivors. Hoyas relay for less cancer. Hoyas relay for more birthdays. Because imagine what it’s like to hear the words, “you have cancer.” Listen to these stories and CELEBRATE, REMEMBER and FIGHT BACK.

Are you ready to spend the night on Harbin Field with me (and 3,000 other Hoyas) to beat our toughest opponent?

Photo credits: Georgetown Relay For Life, American Cancer Society