Nijmegen students raise money for cancer research by running

23 May 2023

On Saturday, June 3rd, Park Brakkestein will be the site of the first Run to Fight Cancer Nijmegen. The contest is an initiative by eight Nijmegen students in collaboration with the Radboud Oncology Fund. The money raised will be used to fund cancer research.

When Maud Verhaaren (21) was diagnosed with leukemia at age nineteen, she was astonished to learn how little her peers knew about the disease. ‘Some of the comments I received made absolutely no sense’, she says. ‘For example, somebody asked me when my hair was going to fall out.’

Verhaaren thinks this is because the sickness does not play a major role in the lives of most young people. Parents, on the other hand, are a lot more engaged with the subject, and they are more likely to actively support cancer research.

It is for that reason that Verhaaren hopes that the first ever Run to Fight Cancer Nijmegen will not only raise a lot of money for research, but also create more awareness of the disease among young people. The event, where participants run 5 kilometres near the campus, is organised by Students Fight Cancer (SFC) Nijmegen. Students who sign up for the event can get donations through the website, which will go directly to the Radboud Oncology Fund.

One hundred students

Students Fight Cancer had its start three years ago in Maastricht. The organisation’s intent was to get students more involved in cancer research. ‘Generally speaking, charities for cancer research tend to reach older people much more easily than younger ones’, according to Lotte Besselaar. She is SFC Nijmegen’s activity manager, as well as a medical student at Radboud University.

‘Cancer research remains incredibly important’

SFC Nijmegen’s organisational structure consists of eight Nijmegen students. In November, they organised the ‘Prompt een snor’ event, and they sent out Christmas cards in December. ‘But the running competition is our first major event’, as stated by Besselaar. More than a hundred students have already signed up.

More donations

Besselaar is pleased with the event’s turnout so far. ‘We’ve already collected more than 15,000 euros from roughly 600 sponsors. I hope we receive a lot more donations, but I’m confident it will work out. The closer we get to the deadline, the more people sign up.’

Meanwhile, Verhaaren is doing much better; she has been free of leukemia since 2021, but only after five years can it be determined whether she is fully cured. She is happy that Nijmegen now has their own student organisation working to promote cancer research. ‘Research remains incredibly important; it’s the only way we can cure people.’

The run will take place in Park Brakkestein at 1 pm on June 3rd. You can sign up via the website.

Translated by Jasper Pesch

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