Cancer Survivor Speaks, Group Raises Funds

RHYAN HENSON | Multimedia EditorEricDay

Last Saturday was Stay Positive Day at the Butler men’s basketball game. Although the  team lost the game, the day was a win for junior Eric Day and his Stay Positive organization.

Day spoke in front of a sold-out Hinkle Fieldhouse, educating the crowd about his story of beating cancer twice and why it is important to “stay positive.”

“It was pretty neat that I was able to speak in front of 10,000 people and raise $6,000,” Day said. “It was awesome to see little Allison, that seven-year-old who was fighting cancer with me at Jill’s House, to come and for her to get some applause. But it is nice that she realizes that everyone is with her and supporting her.”

“The basketball game was significant because it moved our message outside of students and into the Butler community,” said Deb Lecklider, College of Education associate dean and the group’s faculty sponsor. “When you have a sell-out crowd and Eric received a standing ovation, it spoke volumes about how incredible the Butler community is.”

Day started Stay Positive as an on- campus student organization a year ago. Today, the organization spans 41 states, and its message has reached thousands of people.

The organization started when Day and Erik Fromm, a senior forward on the Butler men’s basketball team whose father died from cancer last year, spoke last April in the Reilly Room to students about their experiences with cancer.

After the speech in the Reilly Room, many students approached Day asking how they could get involved. Shortly after that, Day decided to create a student group.

Although it is a student group, Day gets some help from Lecklider.

“She is always supportive, extremely helpful and is a huge part of the success of the organization,” Day said.

Lecklider encourages everyone to pay it forward. She said everyone who purchases a Stay Positive wristband should buy an extra one.

She said people should give away the band to someone else and, while giving it away, they should tell the story and meaning behind Stay Positive.

To date, the organization has made around $18,000 according to Day.

With all of the money and awareness already created, the group has no plans on slowing down now. Alongside selling many wristbands on Saturday the group sold nearly sixteen boxes of T-shirts.

Although the idea is still in the planning stages the group is looking to have another fundraiser in April. The group plans on having an auction and already has the support of professional athletes according to Ellie Gabriel, director of programing.

“It will be a fun evening,” said Addison Schaar, Stay Positive executive. “We are looking to get it catered, there will be tables set up and a stage where Eric can speak.“

“He will never stop,” Lecklider said. “Eric is trying to make it where everyone looks on the bright side.”

It is just reaching out to people,” Day said. “Everybody has a daily problem. We are just trying to reach out to help anybody who needs that daily reminder to stay positive.”