Global EngagementUC HomeAbout UCUC AcademicsUC AdmissionsUC AthleticsUC GlobalUC HealthUC LibrariesUC ResearchNews


The Unwanted Embracer of Diversity: UC Student Shares Her Story

Cancer does not discriminate. A UC freshman will be among participants in the Survivor Lap kickoff at Relay For Life at UC on April 5.

Date: 4/1/2013 7:33:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
University of Cincinnati freshman Jennifer Morand is looking forward to Friday, April 5. She’ll be joining members of her sorority, Theta Phi Alpha, and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, as they cook out for UC’s largest student-organized fundraiser on campus, Relay For Life.
Jennifer Morand
Jennifer Morand

It’s Morand’s first participation in the 18-hour event to raise money for education, advocacy and research programs for the American Cancer Society. As a cancer survivor, Morand also will kick off the Relay’s Survivor Lap that begins at 6 p.m., Friday, April 5, on McMicken Commons.

Morand, a 19-year-old communication sciences and disorders major from Delhi and graduate of Seton High School, says she first noticed a lump on her neck when she was a high school freshman. As she entered her sophomore year in high school, she says she mentioned the lump to her doctor during a physical exam. A biopsy revealed the lump to be inconclusive – resulting in the removal of half of her thyroid. The results of the surgery revealed the lump to be thyroid cancer.

The thyroid is an endocrine gland that secretes hormones affecting growth and development, energy, weight and even body temperature. Thyroid cancer strikes women more than men, but it’s also more common in women in their 40s and 50s.

Jennifer Morand

It is also a highly curable cancer. Morand’s treatment involved a total of two surgeries to remove her thyroid gland, followed by radiation therapy.  Now that she has no thyroid gland, she will take medication for the rest of her life to continue to regulate her metabolism.

The American Cancer Society reports that 13 million people living in the U.S. have had some type of cancer – some are cancer free and others are still battling the disease.

Although the risk of developing cancer is commonly associated with aging, the American Cancer Society emphasizes that anyone can develop cancer. Morand is among a number of UC student, faculty and staff cancer survivors to participate in the Survivor Lap in UC’s Relay For Life over the past 11 years. Some of those student cancer survivors reported being diagnosed as young as 5 years old – others, like Morand, took on that battle as teenagers.

Relay For Life at UC is a springtime spectacle in the center of campus – as thousands of participants pitch their tents on McMicken Commons and hold additional fundraisers for the Relay, such as the cookout involving Morand. Student organizers also plan entertainment and activities through the entire night.

Morand says the event is an amazing symbol of hope in the cancer battle and says Relay touches her personally as a cancer survivor. “I think it’s awesome. I was in eighth grade when my best friend was diagnosed with lymphoma, so I want to do everything that I can do to show my support. Relay For Life at UC – and other Relays around the nation – show just how much people are standing up against this disease.”

Student organizers of Relay For Life at UC are aiming to raise $180,000 to the support the American Cancer Society. Last year’s Relay raised $156,000, allowing students to achieve their $1 million goal of fundraising over the past decade.

Relay For Life at UC is the largest collegiate relay in its division, which includes Ohio and Pennsylvania. UC is currently ranked 16th in the nation as the largest collegiate Relay For Life fundraiser.

For more on how to donate or take part in Relay For Life at UC, click on the website at: