NDSU Student Leads 12-state Cancer Awareness Youth Task Force


North Dakota State University senior Lindsey Kaufmann will gladly walk a mile, or even 10, to bring awareness about the fight against cancer.

Kaufmann, who is president of NDSU Colleges Against Cancer, was named May 19 as co-chair of the Great West Youth Task Force for the American Cancer Society. The group is the largest of its kind in the country, including members in North Dakota, Montana, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.

A major activity of the group is organizing Relay for Life fundraising events. “I am excited and passionate about Relay for Life,” said Kaufmann, who expects to graduate in December with majors in public relations and advertising and minors in management communication and journalism. “My job will be to lead a group of amazing people who advocate cancer awareness through college and high school student activities.”

At age 12, Kaufmann participated in her first Relay for Life after her mother’s best friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As she grew, she came to more fully understand and appreciate the event’s message of involvement, advocacy and awareness. She became a youth development chair and worked with the committee in her hometown of Minnetonka, Minn.

Then esophageal cancer struck down her grandfather, and he passed away the third day of her freshman year at NDSU.

“I really was lost, and didn’t know what to do,” she explained, noting she went to the annual student activities fair on the patio of the Memorial Union. “A purple booth caught my eye. It was the Colleges Against Cancer/Relay booth. Of course, I signed up.”

Kaufmann became an even more dedicated volunteer for the cause.

“Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can ruin the lives of so many people,” Kaufmann said. “My goal is to let people know that if no one in their immediate family is directly affected by cancer, more than likely they will have a neighbor, classmate or a teacher affected. So, no one should be afraid to reach out for help.”

Through the encouragement of fellow Colleges Against Cancer leader Zane Frick, she became active in the Great West Task Force. Kaufmann attended the international leadership conference in Nashville, Tenn., in July 2012 and made presentations this past year at regional conferences in Denver and Fargo.

While her NDSU activities have put her front and center of the local fight against cancer, Kaufmann also developed important leadership abilities and the skills to work with others as a resident assistant in NDSU’s Weible Hall and the Living Learning Center. “Always being there and having people look to me as a leader, having my actions always be accounted for – all of that will really help me in my new duties.”

Kaufmann was co-chair of the NDSU Relay for Life on April 27 that raised more than $38,000 and attracted more than 500 participants. She became a member of the elite Grand Club, because she personally raised more than $1,400.

And now, as co-chair of the Great West Youth Task Force, Kaufmann will take her energy and dedication to the next level.

For more information on Relay for Life at NDSU, visit http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR?fr_id=48443&pg=entry.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.