Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Universities Against Cancer: A catalyst for change

CW / Angel Scales
Images from the organization’s most recent event in November.

Universities Against Cancer is an organization at the University that is registered as a nonprofit with the state of Alabama and works to raise money for patient needs funds at local hospitals.

The organization was founded by roommates Lucas Ealy, the president and a freshman majoring in political science, and Matthew Glatt, the vice president and a freshman majoring in computer engineering. 

Ealy recalls sitting with Glatt and thinking about the work his family has done with its nonprofits.  

“I was kind of looking at different student organizations,” Ealy said. “I said this is something I want to do.  

Ealy said that his aunt’s nonprofit breast cancer organizations operating in Atlanta, Georgia, and northern Michigan inspired his desire to create this nonprofit.  

“I’ve worked with her for years, so that kind of pushed me, seeing the stuff that they did and the impact they had, to want to do something here, but also provide the student and youth leadership aspect into that,” Ealy said.  

When asked why an organization like Universities Against Cancer is important for the University, Ealy said student involvement is crucial.   

“Our goals right now are to implement a patient-needs fund with local hospitals to provide financial support for people that can’t afford treatment,” Ealy said. “The way that we want to work with students is providing scholarships for people that have been closely affected by cancer to pursue education here at Alabama, as well as potentially a scholarship for those going to pursue advanced degrees in cancer research or treatment.”  

Glatt added on, saying the organization allows students to donate to the cause and recognized fraternities and sororities already have this as one of their fundraising missions.  

“It just gives them a place to raise the money and put it towards a good cause. This is our only mission,” Glatt said.  

UAC secretary and freshman nursing major Emily Thornton said the organization is personally important to her. 

“My great-grandfather had lung cancer and it’s a big disease that affects a lot of people in a lot of different ways,” Thornton said.  

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 16 men and 1 in 17 women will develop lung cancer in their lifetime.  

Ealy added that giving current cancer fighters recognition is important.  

“Being a youth that wants to get involved in doing something like this that is, on the surface, it looks similar to what other organizations do, deep down our focus is, as I mentioned, not on the research itself, but helping people today,” Ealy said. 

The group meets on the second Wednesday of each month and urges UA students to join the organization.  

“We need help, we need all hands that we can get through the different projects, and everyone has connections with different people,” Ealy said. “So, if we have 10 people with 10 different connections, that’s 100 people that we can reach out to and work with.”  

On Nov. 12, 2023, the organization held an event that saw over 200 bags being lined up from Gorgas Library to Denny Chimes. Both students and faculty alike had the opportunity to decorate bags in memory or honor of someone with cancer.  

Glatt described it as “absolutely amazing” but recognized that the bags only represent a small percentage of people affected by the disease.  

The organization’s next event will be held March 2 at 7 p.m. It will be hosting the Pink Gala, an exclusive dinner where there will be entertainment, a silent auction and guest speakers. For more information regarding the organization, visit its mySource page. 

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