GV student media teams up for telethon even

Anya Zentmeyer

In 2013, an estimated 1,660,290 Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer, according to a recent report released by the American Cancer Society, and 280,350 will die from the disease – that’s almost 1,600 people each day in the U.S. alone.

Grand Valley State University’s student-run media groups will combine forces March 28 to raise both money and awareness about the disease, which claims one in four lives, and is the second leading cause of death in the U.S.

Spearheaded by student-run television station GVTV, the day of fundraising is done in conjunction with the university’s annual April 12 Relay for Life walk-a-thon event, all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society for foundational support.

Though GVTV has actively participated in Relay for Life for a number of years, 2013 welcomes their very first telethon event, Lakers for a Cure, which will be broadcast live from the basement of the Kirkhof Center in both Area 51 and the GVTV studio.

“When we first got the capabilities to go live, me and (news director) Bobby (Nielsen) were joking about all of the things that we could do live, and I brought up to him a telethon and it was this ongoing joke for a year,” said Jamie Bartkowicz, station manager for GVTV. “Then, at the beginning of the semester when we started getting in gear for Relay for Life, me and him kind of realized that a telethon was possible and that we should give it a try.”

Area 51, which will be open for public audience, will play host to the entertainment element of the event with guests including Last Laker Standing runner-up and comedian Luis Valencia while the studio will host other guests like Louie the Laker and representatives from GVSU’s student organization Colleges Against Cancer. The hosts will also bring cancer survivors from the GVSU community on air to talk about the role cancer has played in their own lives.

The telethon runs from 8-10 p.m., and will be supplemented by social media coverage by the Lanthorn as well as a remote live broadcast by GVSU’s student-run radio station, The Whale, from the lobby of the Kirkhof Center for most of the day. Students can stream The Whale’s live broadcast online or through the station’s new mobile app, which is currently available on the Android Market.

“I think Relay for Life is one of those things that the Whale and something that first and foremost GVTV has always been doing and has always been doing well,” said Dan Spadafora, program director for The Whale. “They do it so well I’ve always wanted to the Whale to be a part of it and do something like I said before that’s totally separate from student media and more focused on the community.”

All three student media organizations will be accepting donations throughout Thursday, both at tables set up in Kirkhof, as well through an online PayPal account, with hopes to raise at least $2,400 for the cause.

Watch GVTV’s telethon in person at Area 51, or online at grandvalleytv.com/live.

Keep up with GVTV, The Whale and the Lanthorn on Facebook and Twitter, where the media groups will bring you the latest on the day’s fundraising events.

“I know everyone has been affected by cancer in someway; I mean, I never met anyone who’s never known someone,” Bartkowicz said. “There’s a lot of members in GVTV who have been personally affected with friends or family, so we stated doing the team a couple years ago and every year we think it’s an important thing that Grand Valley students in general should come out and do and we want to raise more awareness about it.”
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