SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara women's rowing will be conducting a four-day initiative to promote awareness of Thyroid Cancer on behalf of ThyCa, the Thyroid Cancer Survivor's Association. Starting on Sat., April 5, the Broncos will run an information and awareness table at Santa Clara Preview day, all-day, for incoming freshmen through Sun., April 6. The efforts will culminate in an all-day "ergathon" in front of Benson Student Center on Tues., April 8, where the team will be taking donations to go directly to ThyCa and support the effort to fight thyroid cancer.
"All thyroid cancer survivors are grateful to the Santa Clara women's rowing team and Missy Giorgi for enthusiastically promoting thyroid cancer awareness and early detection," said Tom Engle, Program Director of ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc. "We wish them a successful event on our behalf."
The sponsor for Santa Clara's effort is team friend Vivian Bracher, who lost her brother to thyroid cancer and continues to be active in this cause. Vivian is also donating a pair-oared boat to the women's rowing team to be named in memory of her brother, who frequented the Broncos' home waters on the Lexington Reservoir for recreation.
"Until my brother was diagnosed with Anaplastic thyroid cancer, I was like most of the population; I simply thought that thyroid cancer was almost always curable and not a problem," said Bracher. "When the ugly diagnosis of Anaplastic appeared then I realized how serious it was. My brother was a perfectly healthy 58 year old. Very athletic and physically fit and had just returned from a skiing trip to Aspen. He came home with laryngitis and saw two doctors who prescribed antibiotics to no avail. Neither doctor thought to do a neck check. This is where ThyCa is so helpful with the online services. People can ask questions, get help regarding various doctors and treatment centers across the USA. The more public awareness helps all of us."
"Vivian came to us wanting to honor the memory of her brother through the gift of a boat with his name on it, to literally get him back on the waters of the Lexington Reservoir that he used to fish on," said Santa Clara head coach John Wojtkiewicz. "The tragedy of his loss due to late detection of his thyroid cancer, and subsequently the team meeting with Vivian to hear her talk about her brother and his memory inspired the entire team. Thyroid cancer does not get much attention or research dollars, so we had to do something to help."