search button
newscenter logo
Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Follow SDSU Follow SDSU on Twitter Follow SDSU on Facebook SDSU RSS Feed

Sara Meza Adame, a junior sustainability major Sara Meza Adame, a junior sustainability major

Courage Through Cancer Fund Recipients Honored

The crowdfunded campaign helps students impacted by a cancer diagnosis — including junior Sara Meza Adame — stay in school and complete their studies.
By SDSU News Team

A donor appreciation event was held Dec. 7 to celebrate those who have backed SDSU’s Wallace, Shatsky, Blackburn Courage Through Cancer Fund and the students it supports: Those with a personal or parent/guardian cancer diagnosis and resulting serious financial hardship. 

More than 100 of the 1,000 donors to the fund attended the gathering at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, and six students who have benefited from the fund spoke about how it has impacted their lives.

"For many years, my family endured many personal trials and great financial debt due to my medical treatments, hospitalizations, procedures, and surgeries,” said junior sustainability major Sara Meza Adame, who has been diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer that affects muscle tissue. 

“After suffering many health-related interruptions, I have never been closer to completing my dream of graduating from university — one that I have been wishing and hoping for since my first hospitalizations and moments battling this horrible disease,” she said. “All because of our donors. They have changed my life.”

The fund helps recipients pay for tuition, books, housing and meal plans. 

Tammy Blackburn (’94, ’01), director of marketing and communications for University Relations and Development, created the fund after she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer and then Stage 4 incurable cancer. It is named after her oncologists at UC San Diego Health: Anne Wallace, M.D. and Rebecca Shatsky, M.D. Since its inception on Sept. 25, 2018, the fund has raised more than $300,000 and helped 25 students. 

“It’s amazing to see the profound impact our donors have had on so many students in such a short time,” Blackburn said.

An ongoing online crowdfunding campaign is collecting donations of all amounts to continue and expand the work. 

At the event, recipient Ryan Thomas, a graduate student majoring in public health, shared how the fund helped him after his mother — a single mother — was diagnosed with cancer.

"The Courage Through Cancer Fund has allowed me to continue pursuing my goal of improving health care in the United States,” he said. “These funds have relieved a huge burden due to my mother's diagnosis. Cancer is devastating but this fund, and everyone here today, gives me hope for a brighter future."