By Camille Didelot, Clarion Herald Contributing writer
Loyola University New Orleans’ PRSSA Bateman team is running a campaign for the nonprofit, “With Purpose,” which seeks to improve healthcare conditions for those with pediatric cancer through youth advocacy, community partnerships and advancing treatment.
The Bateman Case Study Competition is the premier national case study competition for public relations students, sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America.
Approximately 100 schools compete with teams of five to develop and implement a full-scale campaign for a different client each year.
This year, the goal for all competing schools is to increase awareness of the problems with childhood cancer treatment in the United States, while also giving team members experience that will benefit them in the future, said Mathew Pashby, a Loyola University junior studying public relations.
“While we are doing this through Bateman, this competition has nothing to do with us,” Pashby said. “It’s about ‘With Purpose,’ and it’s about making a difference for these children, and we are all dedicated to the cause. It’s not just business; it’s personal.”
Children diagnosed with cancer have long odds against them. More than 50 years ago, Neil Armstrong’s 2-year-old daughter died of a brain tumor. Today, children are still receiving the same treatment. A mere 4 percent of funding from the National Cancer Institute goes toward pediatric cancer, and only three new drugs have been approved over the last four decades.
The local campaign encourages students to “Geaux for the Gold” and be the catalyst to make positive change for the next generation. To enforce With Purpose’s mission, the team has held documentary screenings, second lines and informational sessions on campus.
Tala Maalouili, Loyola student and childhood cancer survivor, is sharing her story as an advocate for herself and other children who have faced cancer because she believes conditions need to be better.
“I have always lived by the motto ‘never give up,’” said Maalouili, a biology major who aspires to be an oncologist at the Memphis hospital where she was treated. “It is important to never give up fighting cancer because we need to bring more awareness into the world to promote more research studies, which will ultimately result in cures of cancer.”
On March 8, Loyola University New Orleans hosted a community assembly in the St. Charles Room. It brought together childhood cancer survivors and legislators to raise awareness and promote change. Pediatric cancer survivor Emily Hines and former State Sen. Diana Bajoie, who survived breast cancer, shared their stories.
Hines was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 16 and believes it is her duty to work to improve treatment for future generations.
“I have a purpose, and I believe that it is to be an advocate for everyone affected by childhood cancer,” Hines said. “My hope is that I live to see the day when we discover the cure.”
March 13 was declared “Geaux for the Gold With Purpose Day” by the New Orleans City Council, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. That proclamation was celebrated during a candlelit closing ceremony.
The Bateman team’s campaign for With Purpose runs until March 15. After an extensive judging process executed by PRSA members and other professionals, three finalists will be chosen to present their campaigns to representatives.
Camille Didelot is a senior mass communication major and a Bateman team member.