Applicants to the program typically have a wealth of volunteer experience, and that momentum continues here as students support area organizations that raise awareness and money to treat and cure genetic disorders. In October 2012, 34 representatives from Arcadia’s Genetic Counseling program attended Breast Cancer Awareness Night at the Philadelphia Union game in support of FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
The very next day, a continent of 13 students and faculty volunteered at Philadelphia’s fourth annual Ride Ataxia, a bicycle race to benefit the Friedrich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to curing Friedrich’s ataxia (FA) through research.
Every spring, Arcadia’s Genetic Counseling Program sponsors an annual “Benefit Bowl-a-Thon” to support the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund. Initiated by Lindsey Close Campbell, a 2005 graduate, the Bowl-a-Thon is now in its eighth year and has raised over $10,000.00. Each year scores of students, faculty, clinical advisors, alumni, family and friends gather to bowl, to bid on raffle baskets donated by local businesses and individuals, and to bring support and attention to the cause of the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund. Students and faculty also support the Fund’s “Wine in Winter” event, which is their predominant fundraiser for the year.
The Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund was established in 1976 in memory of Kelly Anne, who died of leukemia at age six. Her mother, Peggy Ann Dolan, is the executive director of the Fund and also a member of the Advisory Committee for the Genetic Counseling Program and a frequent guest lecturer in our classes. The Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund maintains a resource center providing education, advocacy, information and financial assistance for families caring for seriously ill and physically challenged children. In its 35 years of service, the funds have helped more than 20,000 families in need cover everyday expenses and uninsured items such as utility bills, parking fees at hospitals, child care, handicap equipment, wheelchair adaptations and more. If you would like to learn more about this organization, you can visit their website at www.kadmf.org.
Periodically, the Genetic Counseling program sponsors a film or lecture that would be of interest to the wider community, inviting the public to join us for an evening viewing or discussion. In 2010, in partnership with the Kelly Anne Dolan Memorial Fund, we brought John Crowley, author of Chasing Miracles, to campus to speak about his family’s experience with Pompe Disease and his efforts to find a cure. The movie, Extraordinary Measures, which was based on his experience, was shown, followed by a reception and book signing.
Every year Arcadia’s second year genetic counseling students participate in free Ashkenazi Jewish screening programs at college Hillels and local synagogues sponsored by the Victor Center at Albert Einstein Medical Center. The Victor Centers provide full service genetic counseling and screening for all individuals and couples interested in getting screened for Jewish genetic diseases. Philadelphia’s Victor Center also offers community screenings, which have been held at synagogues, college Hillels, community centers, and other locations. For more information, visit their website.