At WRA, Valentine's Day 2021 may be a memory, but its impact will be long lasting thanks to Crush-O-Grams, a charitable tradition we love! During the annual fundraiser, WRA community members buy Crush-O-Grams to celebrate friendship and love at WRA. Wrapped around Valentine's Day and arranged by the student organization REACH (Reserve Ethically Advancing Community Health), the Crush-O-Grams initiative is a community-wide effort to raise money for cancer research.
Like most things this year, the Crush-O-Gram fundraiser had to adapt due to COVID-19 challenges and REACH members grappled with questions such as how to bring our dear Piofars into the fold and even how to sort more than 2000 'grams!
"Sorting the 'grams took over six hours, which was a huge undertaking for the students," said REACH Advisor and Director of Community Outreach and Global Engagement Wanda Boesch-Cordon. As for how to include the Piofars in the fun, the student leaders found an easy solution. Student-leaders scanned all the 'grams sent to PioFars and emailed them while students on campus were receiving theirs.
Boesch-Cordon said all challenges came with silver linings.
"It was a positive change because even in times of COVID we could include the entire student community in a beloved activity," she shared. "I had many Piofars send me emails thanking me for including them."
One tradition that didn't change was student-cupids jovially racing across campus to deliver the friendship greetings. Seniors Karthik Reddy, Brooke Ashley, Vivien Marmerstein, Sanjit Srinivasaiah, Jillian Reef, Samuel Bick, Jack Chen, Dominic Jocas, Joon Park, David Gentile, George Kagler, Delia Rabatin, Lizzy Krapf and Gayathri Sanagaram donned Valentine-themed outfits and danced to music as they visited buildings on every corner of our 193+ acres.
This year, the school's efforts raised $2,150 from Crush-O-Gram sales, which will go to Cleveland Clinic's breast cancer vaccine which is being researched and developed in The Tuohy Lab. On Monday, April 26, during Morning Meeting, a check was presented to Science Department and Cancer Immunology faculty Dr. Robert Aguilar, who has close ties to the clinic.
To date, more than $12,000 has been raised and donated through the sale of Crush-O-Grams.