Canisius professors fundraise for a good cause.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) coordinates an annual walk in support of breast cancer awareness. They hosted this year’s walk on Oct. 12 at the Buffalo Outer Harbor. This walk receives a great amount of support from the Buffalo community as well as the Canisius community.
Our very own Dr. Barbara Irwin has spent the last three years pushing for as many donations as possible, all in support of her co-worker and friend, Dr. Melissa Wanzer. Wanzer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.
Through her battle, she decided it was very important that she gives back to those who are in need. The walk was the perfect event for her to do that, and Irwin decided to join her.
“I got involved because Dr. Wanzer is a good friend of mine and it was something that I felt was important, and eventually was compelled to do as a way of supporting her,” Irwin said.
The both of them set out to get donations that go directly to the ACS. These donations fund research, wig making, rides to treatment and other services that help support patients and family. Because of their competitive nature, they are some of the top donors. Irwin raised over $3,500 while Wanzer raised over $4,600 this year. Together they make up a team called “Womenstrong.”
“Womenstrong” is the fifth leading team among close to 350 teams. Many of these teams consist of groups higher than three people, showing the dedication they put into fundraising as a team of two. The Buffalo walk this year raised nearly $450,000 with a total of 10,000 walkers.
Irwin sets bigger and better goals for herself each year that passes. The first year she began fundraising, she started with the goal of $250. Reaching this goal in no time, she increased by another $250 and incrementally kept going up. This led to her raising over $3,000. In her second year she started with $500 and incrementally went up, again raising over $4,000.
In her hunt for donations Irwin fundraises in multiple ways — one of those being persistent begging to friends, family members and colleagues. As the director of journalism and a professor at Canisius she wanted to be able to give her students the opportunity to donate as well. Each year she does a different raffle and sells tickets for $1.
Irwin went to a charity event where they sold a jersey signed by Josh Allen in her second year of fundraising. She bought that in support of that charity, and brought it back to Canisius to raffle off to the students. Irwin bought a black lab puppy this year and raffled off 30 minutes to play with her.
Both Irwin and Wanzer will continue to support the ACS in their journey to find a cure for breast cancer through fundraising as well as promoting awareness for the annual walk. Without the help of the Canisius community it wouldn’t have been possible to gather the amount of donations Irwin has.
“I have to give a big shout out to the Canisius community because a lot of the people here are the people that I beg and they have come through big-time and that really means a lot to us,” Irwin said.