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A Mini-Undy Comes to the University of West Alabama

May 17, 2012

Colon cancer is a disease that hits close to home for the sisters of the University of West Alabama’s Alpha Sigma Tau sorority.  A few years ago, both their chapter advisor and the mother of their chapter president were diagnosed with colon-related diseases.  Their advisor had had severe ulcerative colitis for many years which began showing signs of dysplasia, while their president’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.   Stephanie Hyche, their advisor, was only 33 at the time and opted for a total colectomy and permanent ileostomy to prevent progression of the disease. Their president’s mom, Amy Ellis, underwent several surgical procedures and is currently still enduring chemotherapy and radiation with a hopeful prognosis.

The sisters rallied behind these two important women and decided to do something to fight back against colon cancer.  Stephanie had had the opportunity to participate in an Undy 5000 run shortly after recovery from her surgery, and loved it.  She suggested that a smaller version of the Undy would be a great activity to bring to Western Alabama as an awareness tool and a fun activity for every one of all abilities.  Danielle Neupert, an Alpha Sigma Tau sister, says, “There are so many runs and races, but our little town had never hosted anything like this. We knew that with an active Greek community like we have, we could promote it well because college students are a little irreverent anyway.  Our sorority hosts an annual event at which we attempt some type of “a-thon” for a relevant cause. The Undy 5000 run just fit the bill and brought attention to a cause that affected us personally.”

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Not only did they host their own mini-Undy, but after the run, the sisters had a “Pants-off, Dance-off” party, open to both Undy participants and the rest of the student body. “It didn’t seem fair to have people all undressed with no place to go!  So, we hired a DJ and played music to continue the party.”

Danielle says her sisters had a great time planning the event and that it was fairly easy to do. “We made a Facebook group about it because we have seen that has a lot of success with getting the word out about things on our campus. The day of the event we handed out flyers to everyone and with our school being so small word really traveled fast. We are also very lucky that the Greek unity is really good on campus and they promoted our event. We decorated for the Undy and the party with blue pennant banners, and underwear strung all around.”

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Word traveled fast and despite the rainy day, there was a great turnout! The sisters of Alpha Sigma Tau raised almost $650 for the Colon Cancer Alliance’s fight against colon cancer. The sisters are proud of their huge success and can’t wait to work on another mini-Undy next year.

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If you are interested in hosting a mini-Undy in your town, please contact the Undy 5000 Team at Undy5000@ccalliance.org.

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