University students in the Public Relations Student Society of America launched the #FightForFive campaign as part of the national Bateman Case Study Competition.
Tigers With Purpose is a team of five public relations seniors and PRSSA members representing the University in the competition. Tigers With Purpose launched the campaign on Feb. 16 and will continue until the competition’s end on March 15. The campaign kicked-off with a tailgate for the baseball season opener.
Their client, With Purpose, is a non-profit organization dedicated to pediatric cancer research, funding and awareness. Erin Benson started the organization after her son Sam died from pediatric cancer at 2 years old, according to the organization’s website.
“We believe kids with cancer should have hope for a bright future,” the With Purpose website stated.
At the time of his diagnosis, treatment options for Sam’s cancer didn’t exist, according to the website. Benson discovered only four pediatric cancer treatments have been approved by the FDA in the past 30 years, and only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget was dedicated to pediatric cancer research.
Tigers With Purpose team member Chloe Kingston said With Purpose is different from other pediatric cancer awareness organizations because it provides a clear call to action while other organizations focus on fundraising.
“You can raise all the money in the world, but that doesn’t mean things will change,” Kingston said.
Instead, the organization emphasizes the lack of attention and resources dedicated to pediatric cancer treatment, said Tigers With Purpose team member Meagan Morvant. With Purpose outlines definitive actions toward improving pediatric cancer treatments, including petitioning the legislature and pressuring the FDA to approve additional treatments.
Morvant said the goal of their campaign is to educate people in Baton Rouge about the statistics surrounding pediatric cancer and “get them a little angry about it.” She said they’re hoping people will be compelled to take up their own course of action like contacting legislators.
“It’s not just all about money,” Morvant said. “Contact people that you know. Be there for your community members that are going through this.”
The #FightForFive campaign is based on the statistic that 1 in 5 children diagnosed with pediatric cancer won’t survive, Kingston said. The campaign strives to fight for all five children. The campaign’s logo is the handprint, each finger representing a child in the statistic.
Kingston said the campaign hopes to engage the community through nostalgia, incorporating childlike aspects like finger painting, animated movies and a Spotify playlist filled with childhood songs.
“Nostalgia has pulled a lot of people into this campaign,” Morvant said.
Tigers With Purpose’s campaign focuses on creating a personal connection within the community, said team member Kevin Miner. The team released a video, a compilation of interviews with University students who’ve suffered from pediatric cancer and with parents who’ve lost children to pediatric cancer.
“We’re a community,” said Tigers With Purpose team member Josie Bonnette. “In my mind, it’s crazy to think you go through life not knowing how many people have been affected by cancer that you know.”
Kingston said the team didn’t want to frame the campaign with sad stories of children with cancer, but instead, they wanted the video to highlight other University students to show pediatric cancer’s reach and lasting effect.
“We want LSU to care,” Kingston said. “People among you could’ve gone through this.”
The team was overwhelmed by the popularity and feedback from the video. Miner said in 24 hours, the video had about 10,000 views and 150 shares on Facebook. Several people have responded to the video, offering to share their stories and participation in the campaign.
Tiger With Purpose started a community-wide art project as part of the campaign, Miner said. The team invites people on campus and in the community to place their painted hand print on a banner to be hung around campus and other Baton Rouge locations.
“We thought we could have so many hands from people from all different walks of life to really to show ‘This is how many people care about our university,’’’ Kingston said.
Miner said the goal is to allow the campaign to live on after the competition is over.
The team collects handprints every Tuesday and Thursday in Free Speech Alley. University Lab High School hung a banner on their campus, and other banners will be hung at McKinley High School and the EBR Parish Library. They’ll also be collecting handprints on Tuesday from the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans.
Miner said they wanted to host an event to give back to the community as well. Tigers With Purpose hosted a free yoga class, Yoga With Purpose, on the Parade Grounds on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m, catered by Smoothie King.
“We wanted to provide people a space to come learn about pediatric cancer, but also enjoy the fellowship of the community,” Miner said.
Tigers With Purpose is hosting a movie night at Curbside Burgers on Thursday. They will be screening “The Incredibles” and collecting handprints. Curbside is also offering a Reese’s peanut butter cup flavored milkshake called “The Fighter” until March 12. Half of all the proceeds collected from the milkshake will be donated to With Purpose.
Miner said they’ve received an outpouring of community support for the organization and their campaign. Businesses and schools in Baton Rouge have gotten involved with the national organization. University Lab High School donated to Tigers With Purpose and helped them connect with groups of high school and kindergarten students.
Morvant said the team is no longer focusing on the competition, but rather, they’re committed to raising awareness for With Purpose.
“People that we meet, they fight for this every day of their life,” Morvant said. “We want it to have a lasting impact beyond March 15th. This doesn’t stop with us, it goes so much further.”
Edtior’s Note: Kevin Miner is a former employee of The Daily Reveille.