Ashley Lauren Foundation club offers supports for children with pediatric cancer
The Ashley Lauren Foundation Club at Rutgers provides financial and emotional support to families of children facing pediatric cancer.
The club is an independent, non-profit organization, based in Spring Lake, New Jersey. According to their mission statement, they illustrate a strong commitment to providing direct financial, material and emotional support for children and their families.
Pediatric cancer is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). An estimated 1,250 children are expected to succumb to the disease in 2016, with about 10,380 children diagnosed last year.
The club will host an event in February called the "RU Brew: Cup Of Love" CoffeeHouse event at the Red Lion Cafe on the College Avenue Campus. The event will include live karaoke, Valentine's Day gift crafting for children and desserts, according to their Facebook page.
It will cost $2 to participate, and $3 if students would like a mug included. All proceeds will be donated to providing support for children with cancer, according to the page.
The organization donates its earnings to the Saint Peter’s University Hospital, said Saad Mansuri, the public relations chair of the organization.
“This club is enticing to students because of the hands-on approach it has with the families in need,” Mansuri said.
Overall, the organization uses a targeted and personal approach when working with the families, said Shazeb Ahmed, president of the Ashley Lauren Foundation Club at Rutgers.
This method requires immersive community participation that extends beyond providing donations, Ahmed said.
They support their mission through volunteer work at local hospitals to spend time with children afflicted with the disease, while also working with other non-profits at Rutgers to spread awareness, according to their website.
“The support provided isn't just limited to emotional support, but also financial and material support, since battling cancer is very expensive and the initial diagnosis can be very terrifying," Ahmed said.
Rutgers students can always volunteer to help affected families, Mansuri said. They can participate in fundraising events or directly work with families to show support.
Volunteers interested in working with the organization can message the club’s Facebook page, Mansuri said.
“For most clubs, money is raised and donated and that's the end of that," Mansuri said. "However, with this club, students get the opportunity to directly show and remind families that they are not alone and that they have our continual support in more ways than one."
Hernan Guarderas is a School of Arts and Sciences senior, majoring in journalism and media studies. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @hguarderas93.