Civil engineering senior Tim Sheets aims to broaden people’s perspectives of cancer. In 2006, his close high school friend died from leukemia, which instantly sparked his interest in American Cancer Society’s major fundraiser, Relay for Life. This eventually led the West Des Moines native to become the sponsorship coordinator for this year’s Relay for Life of Iowa State University/Story County.
“It feels good to inform people of cancer and explain how they can help,” Sheets says.
Sheets brands fundraising with an ‘80s Frankie-Says-Relax style T-shirt bearing “Colleges Against Cancer” in neon colors. Colleges Against Cancer is Iowa State’s student organization part of a national American Cancer Society fundraising campaign. In October 2011, the club raised $1,900 at a bowling night appropriately themed “Bowling for Boobs” against breast cancer. Equally appropriate, they put on a “Protect Your Balls” dodgeball tournament February 19 to promote testicular and prostate cancer awareness, which raised $1,500. The club does many other smaller events throughout the year to raise money.
In 2011, he and Colleges Against Cancer raised about $105,000 for Relay for Life. This year they want to raise more. “With corporate fundraising already higher than this time last year, I feel confident we’ll surpass our $108,000 goal,” Sheets says.
With fundraising comes the opportunity to build a network with area businesses. Sheets strengthens his marketing skills on a civic level – an important trait for any future civil engineer. “As the face of Colleges Against Cancer and American Cancer Society for many outside the university, I value this fundraising experience for my future engineering career,” Sheets says.
With more than 700 Iowa State students and many area businesses expected to participate in Relay for Life, the $108,000 goal should easily be reached. This year Relay for Life starts at 7 p.m. March 23 in the Lied Recreation Center on campus. Near the beginning of the event, a luminaria ceremony honors cancer survivors, those with cancer, and loved ones lost to cancer. Relay for Life concludes at 7 a.m. March 24.
Sheets is the only engineering student on the Colleges Against Cancer executive committee, which harbors Relay for Life fundraising for Iowa State and Story County.
While leading Iowa State’s Relay for Life effort, Sheets helps plan outreach events for College of Engineering Recruitment and Community Outreach. The most popular this year is Iowa’s FIRST LEGO League, a statewide LEGO robot competition for 9-to-14-year-olds that applies engineering and science concepts.
Throughout the year he helps run “teach-the-teacher” workshops on campus that promote Project Lead The Way programs to area middle school and high school teachers. Project Lead The Way is a national provider of innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs for middle schools and high schools in the U.S.