Spreading cancer awareness

Lusignan uses senior project to raise awareness of colon cancer


The graduation by proficiency senior project is one of several requirements students must complete in order to graduate. Many seniors see it as just that; a requirement that must be completed, and one that puts a lot of stress on a student along with preparing for college and making sure their student portfolio (another requirement) is intact.

Many students do the project because they have to, but Aubrey Lusignan, a senior at Toll Gate, wanted to do more.

“I wanted to do something meaningful, so I did this in honor of my grandmother, who died of colon cancer,” she said.

Lusignan organized the Rose Nappa 5K Colon Cancer Awareness Walk/Run to raise awareness of the disease and how to prevent it. All proceeds will go to the Colon Cancer Alliance, Voices of Rhode Island Chapter.

“I’m a runner and I’ve always been active,” said Lusignan, who did track on and off throughout her high school career and was a member of the cross country team during her freshman and sophomore years. “I wanted to combine the two.”

Having been raised by her parents to always give back, Lusignan has volunteer experience through her church, National Honor Society and has even worked on previous Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation events, but she said this is the first time she was in charge of organizing an event.

“This was my first time doing it. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it,” she said. “I want to be involved with more events and help out other causes.”

Lusignan said setting up the 5K walk/run was a four-month process that began in January. Assisting her with the event was her mentor, Lynn Hall, who is the coordinator of the Bold r Dash {* this is the correct spelling *} Race, a 5K obstacle course at Camp Yawgoo.

“The hardest part was having to change the location of the event,” Lusgisnan said. “I was originally thinking of having it at Goddard Park, but it was too expensive and the dates didn’t work out.”

Lusignan said she was able to coordinate with Mike Rooney of the city’s Parks and Recreation department to hold the event at Warwick City Park. In addition to the 5K walk/run, it will include live music by a DJ, event T-shirts and an information booth.

“A big part of it is to raise awareness and provide information on how to prevent colon cancer, so there will be an information booth available,” she said.

Lusignan said her favorite part about the project was meeting others, sharing stories and developing connections.

“Colon cancer affects a lot of people,” she said. “Hearing other people’s stories and learning of the love and support other people had for my grandmother and the cause, that was an important connection to have.”

Lusignan said she was able to raise about $2,000, which far exceeded what she expected.

“I didn’t have a set amount that I wanted to reach, but that was so much more than I expected,” she said, adding she’s expecting approximately 100 participants to either walk or run in the event.

Lusignan said the project taught her that putting together a charity event takes a lot of work and organization.

“You need to be on top of your game and really let people know what’s going on. Advertising was very important,” she said. “It’s really exciting. I feel accomplished and I’m happy to make something good out of senior project.”

While she thinks the senior project could benefit from some reform, she said students have the opportunity to make the best of it and make something good out of it.

“You can do something you’re passionate about and make it something you’re proud of,” she said.

Lusignan said she’s planning to go to Boston College to pursue a major in Political Science, and also study writing. And she knows she wants to be involved with more community service and helping others.

“I have volunteered at my church, Honor Society and other things, but being in charge of this made it more of an eye-opening experience and it makes me want to do more,” she said.

The Rose Nappa Colon Cancer Awareness 5K Walk/Run will be held this Saturday, April 28, rain or shine, at Warwick City Park. There is a $15 signup fee in advance and a $20 signup fee the day of the event. Registration starts at 9 a.m., with the race beginning at 10:30. Sign up at www.active.com, using the keywords “colon cancer” or “April 28, 2012.”


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