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Fraternity Raises Over $500 for Cancer Awareness During Annual Rock-A-Thon

Rock-A-Thon Fundraiser

Rock-A-Thon Fundraiser | Photo by Christian Peters | The Wright State Guardian

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity member Shemarr Rice sat in a rocking chair for 24 hours for the fraternity’s annual Rock-A-Thon event to bring cancer awareness and raise money.

Rock-A-Thon origins

The fundraising tradition began with Ian Johnson, a former member who wanted to raise awareness for cancer. One of Johnson’s family members had passed away from cancer, and so he created the Rock-A-Thon event. 

Johnson wanted to do something to not only commemorate but also bring awareness and raise funds for cancer. So Rock-A-Thon was born, where someone sits outside for 24 hours in a rocking chair. 

“That’s such a long time to be in one place, I couldn’t do it but I think it’s great what they’re raising awareness for,” student Sierra Hinton said. 

According to Rice, it’s been almost 15 years since they first started the event. 

This year, Rice and Jeff Shehee, Phi Beta Sigma’s vice president, were in The Quad. From midnight Nov. 7 to midnight Nov. 8, they stayed outside, accepting donations from students who stopped. 

Although it can be tiring and is not the type of fundraiser most people think of, for Phi Beta Sigma, the reason behind the event makes the hours worth it. 

“It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t quite pleasant. You know, it’s something that takes a bit of grit to say at least to be able to stay in one place for an extended period of time. But I enjoyed doing it for the purpose,” Rice said.

Rock-A-Thon purpose

The main goal is to honor individuals who have passed away from cancer. Phi Beta Sigma members hope to do so by raising awareness and money for the American Cancer Society. 

According to Rice, around $500 was raised, though donations are still being accepted. By donating a portion of the proceeds, they hope it will be able to help the millions diagnosed with cancer. 

There are millions of people to raise awareness for and who would benefit from their donation. The American Cancer Society estimates for just 2021 there are 1.9 million new cancer cases and an estimated 608,570 cancer deaths in the United States alone. 

“Rock-A-Thon is important because it emphasizes something deeper than what you can physically see. Cancer has never stopped, and just as the chair continued rocking for the full 24 hours, it just reiterates the principles and solidarity found in our hearts for the love of this fraternity and our local community,” Shehee said.