One year after two brothers were diagnosed with cancer, Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is raising money to donate to the new adolescent and young adult oncology program at the Duke University Health System.
Shave for Schreiber, Buzz for Bobby—named for junior Mark Schreiber and sophomore Bobby Menges—will take place in Clocktower Quadrangle Friday afternoon and will feature a shave-a-thon for people to shave their heads in solidarity with cancer patients. There will also be an auction at Devine’s Restaurant and Sports Bar Thursday.
Through their efforts this year, the fraternity hopes to make the fundraiser an annual event.
“We don’t want this to just be an event until I graduate,” Menges said. “We want it to be an event where I can come back in 20 years, and they’re still having Shave for Schreiber, Buzz for Bobby, and they don’t even know who those people are."
The fundraiser began last year in honor of Schreiber, who was diagnosed with brain cancer during winter break, and Menges, who suffers from neuroblastoma. The fraternity raised more than $60,000, with $20,000 donated in the first 24 hours.
Senior Petros Palandjian—former president of Pi Kappa Alpha who helped lead the fundraising efforts last year—noted that other fraternities, sororities and sports teams have become involved.
“Last year, it ended up going viral, and we had people contacting us from California and other countries,” he said.
This year, their goal is more conservative with the event's online GoFundMe amount set at $20,000. Still, Schreiber said he hopes that corporate sponsors will match donations from the Duke community.
In addition to the monetary and publicity benefits of the fundraiser, Menges said he is looking forward to Friday’s event because it reminds him of all of the support he has received.
“Last year, it was the best day of my year,” Menges said. “It meant a lot to me when a lot of these guys I barely knew—all we had in common was that we were in the same fraternity—were all willing to not just raise a bunch of money but shave their heads.”
Schreiber—along with other young adults who have been treated for cancer—is an advisor to the adolescent and young adult oncology program at Duke, which is still in development. The focus of the program is to provide teenagers with resources to help them cope with their experiences with cancer. It will be modeled off a similar program at the Stanford University Medical Center, where Schreiber received his cancer treatment.
Schreiber explained that through the Stanford program, patients receive a Fitbit, a free account to a meditation app called Headspace and an iPad to promote exercise and mental health.
“It’s not just about saving lives,” Schreiber said. “There’s no magic pill that’s going to beat cancer, but more importantly, there’s no magic pill that’s going to make you snap back and be equal to your peers.”
Although Schreiber’s cancer has gone into remission, Menges continues to receive treatment at Duke.
“I don’t want to be bogged down by my disease," Schreiber said. "I want to do everything I can outside of it."
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