Historic fraternity supports FitCancer and community survivors through philanthropy events

For two years, the gentlemen of the Colorado State University Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity have come together to support a worthy community cause, using their deep roots in the CSU campus scene to raise money for cancer survivors and support their recovery through fitness.

Supporting cancer survivors

Fitness Therapy for Cancer (FitCancer) is an interactive program for cancer survivors in CSU’s Department of Health and Exercise Science that guides them through supportive exercise programs to fit their needs at any part of their fitness and cancer journeys.

FitCancer participants log in to their classes virtually during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic
FitCancer participants log in to their classes virtually during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic

“Fit Cancer is an 8-week, group-based exercise program, uniquely tailored to the needs of each cancer survivor,” explained Heather Leach, Ph.D., director of FitCancer and the Physical Activity for Treatment and Prevention Laboratory in the department’s Human Performance and Clinical Research Laboratory.  “The goal of Fit Cancer is to help cancer survivors combat the deleterious side effects of treatment and empower them with knowledge and confidence to engage in physical activity.”

FitCancer aims to battle deconditioning and chronic fatigue, which can be common among cancer survivors as they go through and exit treatment, allowing them to have a receptive program that supports their return to physical activity after the stressors of treatment.

A historic campus presence

The SAE is a fraternity chapter with roots at CSU that date to the early 20th century and nearly 60 active members and an expansive alumni network. With one of the few remaining off-campus fraternity houses as their home base, their historic roots on campus make them a valued campus partner and sponsor.

Members of the SAE fraternity present the FitCancer team with their big check from the 2021 philanthropy event
Members of the SAE fraternity present the FitCancer team with their big check from the 2021 philanthropy event

Involving the community on and off campus

SAE has supported FitCancer through a variety of chapter-orientated events and community events, as well as Ramfunder campaigns. Last year, between the “Grilled Cheese with SAE” event as well as the online Ramfunder campaign, they raised over $3,200 for the 2020 session of FitCancer. In 2021, after a successful community-facing event through the Colorado Room, the chapter presented Leach with a check for another $3,000 to be used to support survivors in the program.

Department Head Barry Braun commented, “He has zero interest in taking credit for it, but I know that SAE member Carter Beloff, a senior majoring in health and exercise science, organized several fundraising events for FitCancer in both 2020 and 2021. That effort resulted in several thousand dollars a year going directly to the programming that enhances both the physical and emotional health of the community members with a cancer diagnosis.”

Funds for the program were used to help FitCancer remain open throughout the 2020 and 2021 Covid-19 pandemic, allowing them to continue to provide their service for survivors in a virtual format at a level that allowed them to continue with the rigor and customization that in-person classes traditionally provided.

“The funds raised by SAE will help offset the costs of the FitCancer program to participants and provide necessary equipment and technology to continue delivering the program to cancer survivors around the nation,” said Leach. “We hope to continue our relationship with SAE with the same shared goal – improve the lives of cancer survivors through exercise and serve our communities the best we can!”

Classes for the FitCancer program are held for eight-week sessions, meeting once a week virtually for the current scheduled sessions. For more information about the FitCancer Program and how to sign up for the next cohort, go to the FitCancer website.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is a part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.