Move it with MS

Richard Kelly / Washburn Review

Orange ice may not be a normality for hockey, but one group of Washburn students wants it to become standard for at least one night.

Although getting 500 tickets sold using vouchers for the March 6 home game between the Topeka RoadRunners and the St. Louis Bandits may seem a difficult task, a group of students from the Leadership Skills Development course this fall had the option of making a difference in three different areas; one of the topics was in regards to multiple sclerosis. The condition, which affects upwards of one million worldwide, is signified by the color orange in many cases.

With that, Lisa Ille, Nicole Stejskal and Lauren Eckert, all juniors going for their Leadership Studies Certificate, decided that this was the topic to choose and that they wanted to promote MS awareness.  This took them off running with ideas on how to promote it. When the idea of collaborating with the RoadRunners came to mind, Morgan Schaeffer, a senior interning with the team, also became involved.

In actuality, it was an easy choice for the students

“We all had an emotional tie towards MS, because one of our friend’s dad had it,” said Ille. “So, we all put that down as our first option and ended up getting it.”

 Knowing this was the topic for them, they decided the best way to kick off MS Awareness Week was to use a public stage where students would be likely to attend and it would bring a large awareness. They decided to call the Topeka RoadRunners office to inquire about working with the team on the project. The office was quickly excited.

“Once we talked to them and realized what they were doing, I thought about how we did pink ice for breast cancer, but everyone knows that pink is associated with breast cancer,” said Tiffany Logue, RoadRunners account executive. “But, not everybody knows that orange is associated with MS. So, what’s a better way to raise awareness than to paint the ice orange?”

But the event is not only about the color of the ice. The tickets and T-shirts that will be sold bringing awareness to the disease are going to bring proceeds back to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Also, Brent Kirkhart, father of Washburn junior Megan Kirkhart, will talk during intermission. Kirkhart was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 13 years ago. Other families affected by MS will also be recognized.

The group project began in August and was technically completed in December. But despite the class deadline for the three juniors, this was one project the group wanted to follow through with.

“Our LE 300 class was last semester, so technically our grade was turned in and it was basically that we were done and didn’t have to be involved in this anymore, but we all were really motivated to stay with it and see the whole awareness week through,” said Ille. “So, we’re still personally invested with everything that’s going on, because we did pick the right project.”

On the other side of the project, it’s been a complete and meaningful experience, in the list of numerous ones, for the Topeka RoadRunners this season. Logue and Jen Montgomery, who is also an account executive for the team, have been more than excited to be involved in the project. For both, the awareness has been increased about MS.

“To be honest, when I first started with the project, I didn’t know much about it,” said Logue, “but they’re already on the right track because they got two people (Logue and Montgomery) to find out a lot about it and genuinely care about it.”

She continued by saying that with a venue that typically sees around 2,000 people per game, it was a great place to help bring a cause to light. Furthermore, she encourages those who don’t buy T-shirts at the games to wear orange to the event.

And this is all in the hopes of a continuation for the RoadRunners’ front office. By next season, Montgomery and Logue are hoping to sponsor a non-profit organization at every home game and are open to any contacts that would like to see their organization sponsored.

For now, the goal to get orange ice is nearly accomplished, with only 96 left to sell as of Tuesday. The deadline for purchasing a game voucher is Thursday.