Volunteering your time is one of the most valuable items you can give. Ordinarily, most college students can find numerous groups on campus to volunteer for, but when Steve Sparks discovered that the University of Arkansas did not have a Colleges Against Cancer program, he decided to create his own.
After his father, Jim, was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, Sparks wanted to do what he could to fight the disease. "I was looking for a good opportunity to volunteer and to bring awareness to colon cancer," says Sparks, who is a native of Beebe, Ark. "The American Cancer Society deals with every type of cancer."
For the past two years, Sparks has been president of the Colleges Against Cancer program. With 120 active members, Sparks' efforts have been a huge success on campus. "We are the fourth largest club on campus, there are no dues, and everyone contributes," says Sparks.
The group participates in several American Cancer Society activities including the Great American Smokeout and Relay For Life. Last year, the campus hosted its first Relay For Life and raised $10,000.
Today Sparks is proud to report that his father has been cancer free for seven years. And he has no doubt that the group he started will continue to be a success after he graduates this May. "We are well prepared, we have 15 chair positions, and anyone who takes over will be in good hands," he says.
Upon graduating, Sparks plans to attend Optometry school at the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis or North Eastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
For more information on volunteering or the programs offered by the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.