Rocking and Raising Funds: Rock for a Cure will once again raise money for individuals with breast cancer
Unfortunately, we all either know someone or have met someone who knows someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, an estimated 220,000 cases are determind every year. The financial burden placed on these women leave many struggling to save their lives. It is through family and community support that they build strengthto fight through to another day.
Globally, every October breast cancer awareness is recognized. Information populates the media with slogans like, “Save the Tatas,” “I Support Second Base” and “Real Men Wear Pink.” Even NFL players wear hot pink in uniform accessories and donate monies to charities fighting for a cure. In Wilmington, Rock for a Cure continues to be an annual fundraiser.
First established in 2007 as a collaborative effort between Jennifer Chin—the UNCW Communication Studies Society faculty adviser—and one of her students, the event now celebrates eight years. Rock for a Cure at the Reel Café will take place on Friday, October 17 and feature the musical stylings of UNCW faculty band The Schoolboys and Perry James DeLuke. The Reel Café has been the venue of choice for the event annually, and donates the space free of charge, while also offering trays of wings for guests and donating a percentage of the night’s bar tab.
As partners with the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation, donations gathered from the benefit support the NHRMC’s Pink Ribbon Project. The project, established in 1998, is a local organization focused on providing funds for women with breast cancer and tending to their needs for mammograms and comfort bags. According to Kristal McHugh, the previous NHRMC Foundation speaker, mammograms typically cost women $125 and the comfort bags, filled with journals and practical and inspirational items, cost around $85. This is the first student-oriented event the project has partnered with, designed to be an ETEAL—UNCW’s approach at facilitating students into applied learning experiences.
“It really, truly is a Communication Studies Department and UNCW collaborative effort to try and make a difference in our local community,” Chin says.
She typically picks three of four students from her introductory public relations course; this year she chose seniors Kelsey MacDaniel, Karina Villabos, and Taylor Waddell, as well as junior Jamie Walton. Student involvement helps expand the efforts and increase donations.
“I tell my students that everything you do when you come to class shapes your image,” Chin says. “If you think your professors aren’t talking about you, they are. We fight over those of you we think are really good.”
Planning for the event usually begins in May, with a decision-making process thought out exclusively by Chin and her selected student. Faculty and student volunteers are brought in as needed, and Chin challenges her students and exposes them to the hard work that goes into planning a fundraiser of this caliber.
“I chose to get involved with Rock for a Cure because I saw it as an opportunity to gain real-world experience while doing something that benefits my community,” MacDaniel says.
The Communication’s Society spends a great deal of time contacting local businesses to ask for sponsorships and donations, asking alumni for donations for the auction and raffle, selling T-shirts, putting together a bake sale, and holding fundraiser at local bar and grill (this year it was at Might as Well), and reaching out to local media outlets for coverage of the event. While event planning proves stressful at times, the result of their effort makes it all worth it. In the event’s first year, around $900 was raised. To date, they’ve raised over $27,000.
“Rock for a Cure provides a way for students, staff, parents, friends, medical practitioners, and survivors to all come together and bond in a way that’s impossible otherwise,” Bill Bolduc says, co-founder of The Schoolboys. “That makes this truly special—awareness is raised, funds are collected, fun is had. What could be better than that?”
Formed in 1998 by Bolduc and Rick Olsen, The Schoolboys have been performing at Rock for a Cure since its inception. Bolduc plays guitar, while Olsen rocks the keys, and Frank Trimble plays guitar and does vocals, along with James Hunt on drums and Bill DiNome on vocals and bass. The blues-infused, classic-rock cover band first performed together for a faculty-staff exam jam, as a sort of talent show for the students.
“It’s so nice to relate to students in a different way than in the classroom setting,” Bolduc says. “Seeing people dancing and singing along is pretty special. Building relationships outside the walls of the university is even better.”
For member DiNome, the event resonates more personally. He had a spouse pass away of breast cancer in 1990. “It’s pretty present in terms of my own sensibility,” he says. “I think anything people can do to help the cause is great, and to do it in this way is just fun.”
DiNome, having grown up with music all his life via his father’s influence, is the newest member to the band. Through his involvement over the last few years, he’s watched the attendance grow. This year Perry James DeLuke, a senior in the Communication Studies Department, will be the opening act for The Schoolboys. As one of Chin’s former students, DeLuke’s classical, country style will mesh well alongside The Schoolboys.
The event also will hold a raffle and silent auction. During previous years alumni have donated tickets to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and memorabilia from television series like “True Blood,” “Dexter” and “Glee.” This year guests can expect breast cancer-themed cornhole boards, signed CDs by country musician Scotty McCreery, a Virginia Tech football helmet signed by head coach Frank Beamer, vouchers to the Fairfield Inn, and WWE Diva Dolls.
After the auction, Christine King, a mother of a graduated communication studies student and a breast cancer survivor, will be welcomed to the stage for her second consecutive year as the event’s featured speaker. “She was a hoot last year,” Chin says. “She had a great time. She not only has breast cancer but was a recipient of the Pink Ribbon Project comfort bag.”
Chin’s favorite part of the entire event is right after intermission when she finally gets the chance to breathe and observe. “Music is the thing that brings people together,” she says. “So if we can bring people together, have a good time, and make a difference, then I think it’s really awesome.”
Rock for a Cure Featuring The Schoolboys and Perry James DeLuke
Friday, October 17, 6 p.m.
Reel Café, 100 S Front St.