By Emma Culhane
Cancer survivor and SJU sophomore Andrew Smith, is “taking down cancer” by bringing a fundraiser event to CSB/SJU during the wrestling dual against Augsburg at 7pm on Friday, Feb. 9 in Sexton Arena.
The Takedown Cancer event brings together wrestling and fundraising. Associated events were started by Kare 11 anchor Randy Shaver. The money that is raised goes to the Randy Shaver Cancer and Research Community Fund whose goal is to research cancer treatments and help cancer patients by improving their quality of life during treatment.
The fundraiser is new to CSB/SJU, however, it is not new to Smith.
“I did two of these events in high school and they were pretty big,” Smith said. “It’s for sure the coolest thing I have ever done in my life.”
Between the two fundraisers that he put on in high school, he helped raise over $20,000, all of which went to the Randy Shaver Cancer and Community Fund.
Smith was drawn to this type of fundraiser for a reason that hits close to home. At 11 months old, he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma of the bladder. Since he was so young, Andrew doesn’t remember much of it. However, after hearing stories told by his parents, he knew he didn’t want anyone else to go through what his parents had to go through.
Smith’s personal relationship with cancer not only inspired his fundraiser, but his future.
“I want to be a doctor too, and I have always had a passion for helping people,” Smith said. “This was one way I could kind of bring my passion for wrestling and my passion for helping people and kind of hone it in on what I want to do with my future too.”
Smith mentioned that the wrestling team and the athletic department have been a huge help with working out the details of this event.
“Whatever I needed to figure out they were there to help me out,” Smith said.
The whole SJU wrestling team has also shown avid support of Smith’s mission to fight cancer.
“Wrestling team members have purchased t-shirts and are helping run the event,” SJU wrestling Coach Kevin Schlitz said via email.
“[Smith] is always doing something for someone else. I support him fully,” Schlitz said. “Coaches are always looking for different ways for their athletes to get involved in the community. This is what he does, and loves what he does.”
Smith hopes that by doing this event he can make a difference in someone’s life, big or small. Smith tells us that whatever comes from this event, no matter how many people come or how much money is raised, he will be happy with the outcome.
“I hope that we get spectators to share their good fortunes with others in need,” Schlitz said.
Money made from the wrestling dual’s ticket sales will also be added to the money made from the t-shirt sales.
Both Schlitz and Smith would like for the events to continue into the future. Smith showed interest in holding more events like this in years to come, since he’s only a sophomore.