ORU Dorm Floor Ran in Race for the Cure as Surprise for a Breast Cancer Survivor


22 men from Wing "Republic" ran for a floor member's mother who survived breast cancer last year

By David Brown

 For over 25 years the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" has been making a difference in the lives of women through breast cancer education and research. The Race for the CureTulsa race that took place on September 25 was close to home for Evan Chasteen, ORU sophomore, whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

Most of Chasteen's freshman year was a lengthy process as his family coped with the situation. It was a year full of reconstructive surgery, treatments, and the problems that can arise with a close family member suffering from a severe illness.

"I think in the beginning I was kind of in disbelief that it was happening to my mom," said Chasteen. "I'd always heard stories about it. I never thought that it would actually be a part of my life with my mom."

Chasteen's mother responded well to treatment and surgery and currently the cancer is in remission. While his mother is now cancer free, the experience had a real affect on him and his family. If there was one place he could look to for support during the difficult points in the year, it was his dormitory floor, Ellis Melvin Roberts (EMR) 4 East, also known as Republic.

"Last year on the floor everybody had known about it," said Chasteen. "They were a great support for me." Chasteen leaned on his floor during his freshman year and opened up to the guys of Republic. This in turn, helped create an atmosphere where other members of the floor were able to open up about difficulties in their own lives, helping them to get to know each other and grow closer as a floor.

This year, when the news that the Race for the Cure was going to be held on the ORU campus was announced, Chasteen knew that he could call on his friends once more for a great cause. He and senior Jake Lewandowski collaborated with a group on the floor and came up with a plan. Soon after that, almost the entire floor of Republic was signed up to run in the Race for the Cure on the 25th of September for Chasteen's mom.

"We have 22 running. I'd say it's really cool to see a floor get behind one of the guys and step in and try to make a difference in a family's life," said Lewandowski. "This year it's not a life threatening situation but we are doing this to say that we understand where you are."

Lewandowski, Chasteen, and the rest of Republic planned their participation to be a complete surprise for Chasteen's mom. Chasteen said it feels great to know that his entire floor was backing him in this endeavor, not only were they such a great support for him last year, but that they still care about him and his family. "Really the race is going to be a surprise for my mom, it will be good for her to know that all the guys on my floor still are praying for her and care for her."

Lewandowski believes that events of the Race for the Cure and the participation of Republic in Chasteen's family and life is an example of the community that can be achieved on a dormitory floor. "It shows that the floor you live on at ORU are more than just a floor, they are a community of brothers and sisters who are willing to step out and show what true community looks like and a true representation of what Christ is."