Volleyball Team Helps Raise Money for Pancreatic Cancer Research

Volleyball Team Helps Raise Money for Pancreatic Cancer Research

May 27, 2009

Walking has proven to have many health benefits. And now those benefits include the ability to raise money to help fight cancer. The Santa Clara Athletics Department and the Bronco volleyball team, in cooperation with Santa Clara University, assisted in hosting the first annual Bronco Pancreatic Cancer Walk on Sat., May 9. The 175-plus walkers raised almost $10,000 on their 10K walk around the Mission Campus. All proceeds went directly to UCSF and its research for pancreatic cancer.

The idea for the walk was thought of by Arlene Mariani, the mother-in-law of Bronco head volleyball coach Jon Wallace. Mariani also did a majority of the planning. Mariani's own father died of the disease 46 years ago and recently her neighbor, Don Imwalle, died of the same disease. With those two deaths so close to her, Mariani wanted to organize a walk to raise money for research.

"I first needed to figure out logistically, how and where we could hold an event of this capacity," said Mariani. "Instantly, I thought of Santa Clara and enlisted the help of John Ottoboni (SCU General Counsel). He really liked the idea and directed me toward Karrie Grasser (Director of Univ. Events and Protocol). Karrie got on board quickly and suggested I talk to the athletic department as well."

"From there I contacted Jon Wallace and he said his team would be very willing to help organize and participate in the walk. Staci Gustafson, of SCU Athletics, was also anxious to help with the walk. I was so impressed by everyone's willingness to help with this project," said Mariani.

With such willing help from the Santa Clara community, the event was a great success by Mariani's calculations.

"Santa Clara's `yes attitude' made the event not only successful, but also very enjoyable," said Mariani. "From the volleyball team and coaches, to the campus safety officers helping direct the walk, to members of the Santa Clara community, they all understood the importance of supporting those in need."

Larry Wolfe pitched in by asking the City of Santa Clara to donate water bottles. In addition, Brad Anderson from the Athletic Performance store in Los Gatos, brought race numbers and gave Mariani a lot of good information about how to set up the race: how many people they needed to staff water tables, work registration, etc.

Mariani was also excited about the comments about the walk and how much the walkers were impressed by the beauty of the Santa Clara campus. "A woman told me, `I live two blocks away from here, but I never walk on the campus. I can't believe how beautiful it is.' Another told me her son graduated from Santa Clara 10 years ago and she couldn't believe all the work they've done on the campus. She said it was beautiful."

"I really enjoyed participating in the cancer walk," said sophomore volleyball player Krista Kelley. "I loved seeing all of the diverse people coming together to support the cause. I also learned more about pancreatic cancer and how it has hurt so many families. We were able to raise almost $10,000 that went directly to help find the cure. I was very proud to participate in this walk and learned that these events really do help. I am hoping this can be held yearly at Santa Clara because it made such an impact on me. I would definitely participate again!"

"I really enjoyed the walk for pancreatic cancer because it was a great way for the community to come together and support a great cause," said senior volleyball player Lindsy Davigeadono. "It was a really fun experience and it was amazing to see how many people were so supportive. The walk really opened my eyes to see so many wonderful people all gathering in one place all together to help a cause that they all care about. It was important because as college students I do not think we do enough for the community and do not think about others enough. We seem to all be in a bubble and very self-absorbed. When we have events like these we are able to get out and show the world what we are made of."

"It was a great experience for the volleyball team to give back to the community and be a part of the process in this cancer fundraiser," said Wallace, who is married to the former Nancy Mariani '95.

Wallace noted the volleyball team has raised more than $13,000 in the past two years by hosting "Dig for the Cure" - a fund-raiser for Breast Cancer research. Combined with the almost $10,000 raised by the Pancreatic Cancer Walk, the volleyball team has helped raised more than $23,000 in the past two years for cancer research.

"A couple of our major team goals fall in line with that of the Santa Clara campus: to be involved in the community and to help those in need," said Wallace. "I think the walk accomplished both of those."

"Everybody at Santa Clara made the walk so easy to happen," said Mariani. "Everything I asked for from Santa Clara University, the response was "sure, sure, sure."

"It was a fun, social walk. It wasn't a race. We were all out there to get together to have fun," said Mariani. "My neighbor, Kathy Imwalle, whose husband recently passed away from the disease walked with her family and had a great time. For more information on Pancreatic Cancer Research please go to www.walk4pancreaticcancer.com.

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