NMMI cadets participate in the Corps Cancer Awareness March, Saturday afternoon. (Mark Wilson Photo)
New Mexico Military Institute cadets marched to raise funds and awareness for cancer research Saturday during the school’s 7th annual Cancer Awareness March. About 770 cadets participated in the march, which lasted nearly 10 hours and took cadets on a series of 1.1-mile laps around campus.
Funds raised from the event went to the Chaves County Cancer Fund, for which the Corps of Cadets raised about $5,000 in its 2012 march.
NMMI Deputy Commandant for Support Jeff Cunningham said the school hoped to reach Saturday that same $5,000 mark, as well as to instill in cadets the importance of community service.
“We look forward to any opportunity that cadets will be able to understand the importance of community service, not only as someone who lives here part of the year, but just so they can carry this attitude forward when they graduate,” Cunningham said. “The Corps doesn’t have too many opportunities during the school year to be a direct supporter of things like the Chaves County Cancer Fund, so it’s a rare opportunity in that regard. But it’s important for them to have that opportunity and then realize that there’s a face to what they’re attempting to do.
“Typically, folks from the community who either have cancer or have known someone with cancer, will spend some time this evening one-on-one with cadets, and that will bring home the reason why they spend their time doing this. So they don’t want to just provide funds for a (national) group, they want to have an impact here locally.”
Ann Dye, who is on the CCCF board of directors and served as the organization’s first president, said the impact of NMMI’s annual contribution to the fund is a great help to the cause each year.
“It’s a real financial hazard when you get cancer,” Dye said. “So our job is to help them with rent, getting on insurance and meds, getting out of town for treatments, that sort of thing.
“NMMI has been very good to help us out for several years now, and it’s made a big difference in the help that we can give to the cancer patients who live here or get treated here. It’s just wonderful. We really appreciate them doing this for us.”
“I read somewhere that you can make a living by getting,” Dye said, “and that’s where the kids learn how to get jobs and money and so forth. But you make a life by giving. And these kids are learning to make a life by giving back to the community.”