Alum plans ride to quot;leave cancer in the dustquot;

by Beacon Staff • April 2, 2008

Zeta is Emerson's co-ed professional fraternity, dedicated to high standards in the communication arts and sciences, according to the Emerson Web site.,Zeta Phi Eta will try to "strike out cancer" on Saturday, April 5 at its second annual Bowl-A-Thon. The event will take place at Jillian's Lucky Strike Lanes, located around the corner from Fenway Park.

Zeta is Emerson's co-ed professional fraternity, dedicated to high standards in the communication arts and sciences, according to the Emerson Web site.

"We really want to get kids off campus and still do something to make a difference," said Alli Bizon, Zeta's community service chair.

They are involved in many community service events throughout the year, and the Bowl-A-Thon is their opportunity to get the student body involved with something beneficial to an important cause.

Last year, all of the money was donated directly to The American Cancer Society. This year, the fraternity has tied in its cause with the efforts of one of its own alumni. All of the proceeds from the Bowl-A-Thon will go to "Leave Cancer in the Dust," an event created by Zeta alumnus Jeff Marcus.

On May 15, Marcus, his sister Erica and childhood friend Pippa Dorfman will set out on a two-month, 3,500-mile bicycle journey from Anacortes, Wash. to their hometown of Newburyport, Mass. Along the way, they will be promoting lung cancer, brain cancer and bipolar disorder awareness, according to their Web site.

"The ride for us is a memory ride," said Marcus in a phone interview.

Marcus, who graduated from Emerson in 2007, got his original idea for a cross-country bike trip from one of his professors, Ken Cheeseman, who he said would "regale the class with stories about biking across country."

As graduation neared, Marcus became more determined to embark on the journey. Soon, Erica and Dorfman got involved, and it wasn't long before his mother offered to drive behind them the whole time as additional support.

Marcus lost his father to lung cancer and Dorfman's father died from brain cancer.

"The causes are a little obscure, but they all have meaning for us," Marcus said.

The biking trio is self-funding its cross-country journey, according to Marcus, so all of the money raised for them at the Bowl-A-Thon will go directly to Massachusetts General Hospital.

"We chose that hospital because that's where our father was treated," he said.

Massachusetts General Hospital is part of the Partner's Program, which is a conglomeration of hospitals who participate in quality cancer research.

Zeta Phi Eta got involved in Marcus' cause through TV/video major and frat member Kyle Faticoni. She said she brought up the idea at a Zeta business meeting and it was approved unanimously.

Faticoni, who heard about the trip from Marcus a year ago, has been passionate about it every since.

"From the first time I heard about it, I knew I wanted to raise as much money for him as possible," she said. "I thought the Bowl-A-Thon would be perfect for his cause. Furthermore, we would be raising [money] for someone who has had a large impact in our fraternity as well as Emerson as a whole."

"A lot of people know and love Jeff Marcus," said senior writing, literature and publishing and theatre studies double major Thom Dunn. "He was pretty much bioengineered to be the coolest person ever."

The event is open to the entire student body. While he maintained that they always reach their monetary goal, Dunn said the actual tournament hasn't had great attendance.

"We are hoping to have a better turnout this year," he said.

Sophomore musical theatre major Sam Simahk, for one, is excited to attend the event.

"I am really proud of Marcus and happy for him," Simahk said. "I want to go and support him."

Bizon, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, explained that interested students can sign up for the event to be part of teams of 2 to 4 people. Sign-ups will take place during the time that the fraternity will be set up outside of the dining hall in the Little Building, and at the door of the event.

However, Bizon recommended signing up at tables beforehand. The minimum donation in order to get shoes and a bowling lane is $10.

"We're very excited about the program," Bizon said. "It's a lot more personal of a donation."

Bizon explained that at the event, Zeta Phi Eta members will tally scores, and the best team will be awarded prizes that have been donated by local businesses, such as roundtrip airfare. Bowling will take place from 12-2 p.m.

"I have no words," said Marcus. "I can't even thank people enough for this actually happening."

Marcus will be at the Bowl-A-Thon, although due to a broken wrist, his usual bad bowling will be "terrible," he said.