Unite 4 the Fight Text Challenge

USF business and marketing students put on a text message challenge to raise money for pediatric cancer research.


By Daylina Miller

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2011) – Students at the University of South Florida are uniting with the Tampa Bay Lightning and other colleges nationwide in the fight against pediatric cancer.


Starting last month, the USF chapter of the American Marketing Association issued a challenge to other collegiate chapters to design campaigns to raise funds for pediatric cancer research and patient care.


Participating chapters are working with local non-profit organizations and National Hockey League teams to raise money. Vinny Lecavalier, the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightening, is spearheading the effort among NHL teams and players.


 “Vinny [himself] gave $3 million to pediatric cancer and care,” said USF AMA advisor Jill Solomon. “That’s not insignificant.”


USF students, and anyone in the community, can pledge $10 to the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation for pediatric cancer research and patient care by texting “Vinny USF” to 50555.


“Any little bit we can do is an awesome thing,” said USF AMA member Dustan Bennett. “Who can’t sympathize with a child having cancer?”


According to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, 12,500 children in the United States alone are diagnosed with cancer. Because of research, nearly 80 percent become long-term survivors and the majority of them are considered cured, up from 58 percent just 20 years ago.


So far, USF has raised about $2,000 for research and care.


Tuesday night’s “Unite 4 the Fight” event held in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom raised $500. Students who pledged $10 earned raffle tickets for the chance to win autographed hockey pucks, hockey sticks, game-worn jerseys and other hockey memorabilia from Lecavalier.


They could also enter into the EEA NHL Tournament on one of several game consoles set up around the ballroom for a chance to win a copy of the newly released game for Playstation 3 or XBOX 360.


“It’s hard to get pledges from colleges students because of their economic situation,” Bennett said.


“That’s why we held this event,” said USF AMA member Courtney Hood. “Who doesn’t want to kick someone’s butt in a hockey tournament?”


Students filtered in and out of the event to snag some free food from Chick-fil-A and Frubob and listen to some live music from local radio station 101.5. Several pledged $10 from their cell phones when they heard about the tournament.


John Duhaime, a chemical engineering student at USF, got knocked out in the first round of the tournament but said it was for a worthy cause.


“I didn’t expect there to be so many game consoles,” Duhaime said. “It was a very well put-together event for a great cause.”


The funds raised will benefit the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation for pediatric cancer research and patient care and a local pediatric cancer charity to be designated by each participating school. For USF, that charity is All Children’s Hospital.


The campaign will continue to Dec. 30.


Daylina Miller can be reached at 813-500-8754.