Late-night group uses memory of Randy Pausch to aid cause

Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Managing Editor Credit: Celia Ludwinski/Managing Editor

Randy Pausch was used as a lightning rod last week to raise awareness about cancer and funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS) at Carnegie Mellon. The Colleges Against Cancer chapter hosted a Late Night last Saturday themed “Remembering Randy” where the group held a screening of Pausch’s Last Lecture in anticipation of February, which is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

After the clip, professor Dave Malehorn of the University of Pittsburgh spoke about how Pausch was the inspiration for one of his projects. Pausch’s Last Lecture provided the foundation on which Malehorn created his new cancer fundraiser; the message that “you just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore” is literally what Malehorn implemented.

His goal was to use adult-sized Tigger and Eeyore costumes to inspire people to have fun, let loose, and look a little silly while raising money for cancer research in honor of Pausch’s memory.

That is indeed what happened last Saturday when members of Colleges Against Cancer donned the costumes and asked for donations for the ACS around the University Center. Within 10 minutes, the Tigger and Eeyore students returned, having raised almost $30 from sympathetic and amused students around the building.

The costumes were also offered up to anyone walking by as a way to get more people involved and thinking about Pausch and cancer.

Malehorn willingly lends out his “mobile fundraising station” to cancer awareness causes, such as this Remembering Randy event and Carnegie Mellon’s Relay for Life event that happens annually in October.

The Tigger and Eeyore suits first made their debuts on campus in the 2008 Relay for Life; students and faculty could donate to the ACS in exchange for wearing the costume while walking the track.

Senior professional writing major Lindsey Fu, who was president of Carnegie Mellon’s Colleges Against Cancer for last year’s Relay for Life event, reflected that “it’s funny how simply putting on a big Tigger suit can transform your mood and make you want to bounce around and have a good time.”

Malehorn hopes to extend the use of these costumes as a fundraiser to the corporate arena. He envisions members of an office “voting” via donations on either the Tigger or the Eeyore costume throughout a given week. The motivation for the office members’ votes would come from the culmination of the week, when the votes for each costume will be counted and the winning costume will be donned by the office supervisor or boss for a day.

In the meantime, Fu and other members of Colleges Against Cancer will continue working as the collegiate arm of the ACS.

They will focus on four different areas of raising awareness and funds: cancer education, survivorship, advocacy, and Relay for Life.

Their Relay for Life kickoff is scheduled for the end of March so participants can begin fundraising over the summer in preparation for the fall relay, where the Tigger and Eeyore suits will likely make another appearance.

Pausch’s message in his Last Lecture became famous and widespread, but Malehorn said, people should not limit themselves to “just their childhood dreams,” but rather try to achieve all their dreams and continue to try new things, whether that is simply to dress up as Tigger or to leave a nation-wide legacy.