Great news! CODA Vanier, a new VSCA-backed club, is shaping up to become a leader in the world of Cegep cancer fundraisers. This student-run initiative piqued my interest, so I interviewed its charismatic founder, Jack Garxenaj. I will refer to myself (Charles Mckaig) as CM and Jack Garxenaj as JG for this interview.
CM: Hello, Mr. Jack Garxenaj; you recently founded the CODA club here at Vanier College. What does CODA stand for?
JG: CODA stands for Clinical Oncology Disease Association. We believe that life is bigger than cancer. When it comes to cancer patients, we know that they can have a hard time, whether it’s financially, emotionally or physically, with their treatment. We also know that these are indeed real people that have families and that it must be very hard for them. So, CODA believes that we can actually do a lot in our power to help them as much as we can. Whether it’s the funds gathered, whether it’s raising awareness, it leads to very positive outcomes for them.
CM: Good. Are there any events in your life that drove you to start such a club?
JG: Growing up, I didn’t really have many family members who had sickness. Then, as I got older, I had a relative who had cancer who passed away and another relative who recently passed away. He had kidney stones, diabetes and even liver problems. So I know that sickness is really no joke. I’ve come to learn that. I also learned that it really sucks because it’s a type of battle that sometimes you can’t win, no matter what. So, that’s why I really want to change that. I founded CODA Vanier and we’re going to do our best to help change that.
CM: Yes, I think everyone can agree. What are your objectives, exactly?
JG: We’re in a school of 7000 people, almost. Through events that will also benefit the students by brightening their day, by offering some entertainment. In return, we can get funds to give to the Canadian Cancer Society. On top of that, there’s also the raising awareness part. As students, we’re here for an education, which is the perfect setting to learn about an important thing such as this.
CM: Explain why organizing a fundraiser is the best way to improve cancer treatment at Vanier College.
JG: As I just said, we’re a lot of students, we’re a big body of people. When it comes to raising awareness, we should do it when people are young, because whatever we learn now will stay with us forever. So I think raising awareness here and also doing it in creative ways and organizing events that are fun, that people will like, that people will come to and enjoy, is the perfect way to do this.
I was also informed that the most excellent muffins are planned to be sold at the fundraiser event, so you and all of your muffin-loving friends should come. Although nothing is confirmed yet, mid-to-late March is a ballpark approximation for a potential fundraiser date, with Wednesday, March 23, during the universal break, being the likeliest time. Until then, stay positive, test negative.
By: Charles Mckaig