With Purpose

Lauren Schatz and Lorraine Chen passed out flyers and gold ribbons on campus.

Story and images provided by OSU Bateman Team

Senior year of college encompasses many challenges, and five seniors in Oklahoma State University’s Bateman Case Study Competition team have accepted an extra challenge for a cause greater than themselves.

Lorraine Chen, Jay Elliby, Abby Ingram, Ashleigh Rauner and Lauren Schatz are strategic communications seniors at OSU. Since being selected for the team in October 2017, these students have devoted much of their time and energy toward crafting a comprehensive public relations campaign in the Stillwater community.

The team is participating in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s Bateman Case Study Competition. In this competition, university-based teams across the nation are competing to create the best campaign for the nonprofit organization they’re partnered with, With Purpose.

With Purpose is a youth and community-led movement dedicated to making sure kids with cancer have access to safe and effective treatment options. They believe kids with cancer should have hope for a bright future.

Erin Benson, founder of With Purpose, created the movement after her 2-year-old son, Sam, was diagnosed with DIPG, a uniformly fatal brain cancer.

After receiving the news that their son had around a year to live, Erin and her husband made it their goal to live life with purpose and make the rest of Sam’s life as memorable as possible. This entailed many fun-filled trips to museums, zoos, toy stores, beaches, parks, and more.

Toward the end of his life, they asked Sam what else they could do to make him happy. He replied, “I am happy.” He died the next day.

Though Sam’s battle against cancer was lost, Erin is dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer so that other families do not have to experience the same tragedy. Through With Purpose, she aims to raise awareness of the complex problem of advancing treatment for kids with cancer.

Many people are unaware of the lack of advancement of treatments for childhood cancer. In the last 30 years, only four new treatments for all types of childhood cancer have been FDA approved. This is in stark contrast to the hundreds of treatments approved for adult cancers each year.

The OSU Bateman team hopes to spread awareness of this issue through their four-week campaign, which spans from Feb. 15 to March 15.

Volunteers join OSU basketball announcer, Les Thomas at the kick-off of the Bateman team’s awareness campaign.

In preparation of the campaign, the team spent hours conducting research, surveying OSU students and conducting interviews with pediatric hematologists, pediatric oncologists, child psychologists, and cancer survivors like Stillwater’s mayor, Gina Noble.

“I think With Purpose has the right idea because children’s cancer is every bit as important as any other kind of cancer, maybe more so, and I think most people would agree with that,” Noble said. “Kids deserve a shot, especially kids who have cancer.”

The Bateman team certainly agrees that all kids deserve a shot. Their campaign’s theme is “I Want To Be.” It focuses on empowering youth to be what they want to be – whether that means being a princess, teacher, doctor, strong, brave, or kind. It also serves as a reminder to fight to give children affected by cancer the opportunity to grow up and be what they want to be.

The theme for the team’s campaign kick-off event was “I Want To Be Strong” featuring a tug-of-war competition.

To deliver this message, the five seniors came up with some creative, attention-grabbing ideas. From a tug of war event on the library lawn to bringing With Purpose-themed coloring packets into elementary schools, the Bateman team will stop at nothing to spread awareness for this cause.

Though the team is aiming to create the most creative and effective campaign in order to win the competition, they all agree that, win or lose, their busyness pays off because they are making With Purpose known in the Stillwater community. They are so thankful both to be partnered with an impactful organization and to be implementing their campaign in an impactful community.

#IWantToBe a part of an impactful community.  

Visit with-purpose.org to learn more.