Saint Anselm Students Could Lose Right to Vote from School

Ashley Motta ’17 (left), Sarah King ’18 (center), and Garrett Meyer ’18 (right) after voting in Goffstown in the 2016 New Hampshire presidential primary.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives recently voted to pass HB 1264, a bill that would change the eligibility standards for voting in New Hampshire. The bill is expected to pass the Senate, and at that point, it will be up to the governor to determine whether or not the legislation becomes law. Sununu’s record on voting rights for college students is mixed, and there is concern among Democrats and college students that he will sign the legislation. Sununu has remained opposed to HB 372, a similar bill that would have restricted college students’ access to voting.

The bill that most recently passed by the House of Representatives makes a four-word change to the voting requirements in New Hampshire. The four words are “for the indefinite future.” Without these words, Democratic legislators say that college students could have their right to vote where they go to school threatened. College students who choose to still vote in New Hampshire would then have about two months to become New Hampshire residents or face criminal charges.

Voting where one goes to school is a constitutional right. In Symm v. United States (1979), the United States Supreme Court affirmed a student’s right to register and vote in the town they go to school. However, state-by-state efforts to disenfranchise students have persisted.

Democratic legislators, including state senator Donna Soucy, an alum of Saint Anselm College, argue that the legislation is a direct affront to college students. However, their opposition is deeper than that. Senators Soucy and Jeff Woodburn argue that the legislation would make New Hampshire less appealing to younger residents, hurting the state’s economy.

New Hampshire College Democrats President Olivia Teixeira ’20 spoke passionately against HB 1264. In opposing the legislation, she tied the issue of voting rights with core tenets of Saint Anselm’s Benedictine values. “Especially here at Saint Anselm,” she said, “we are dedicated to serving our surrounding community and leaving it better than when we came, and having a part in electing local legislators for the area is no different.”

Saint Anselm students are eligible to vote in Goffstown municipal elections in addition to the state and federal races that get more attention. In the past municipal race in Goffstown, one Saint Anselm alum, Joe Alexander ’18, won an election to the Goffstown Budget Committee.

Teixeira, who also serves as the president of the Saint Anselm College chapter of the College Democrats, said she was impressed with how much students on campus have been involved with the issue. “Over the past few months, I have seen the true power of student voices speaking out against these bills in the State House and fighting for their right to vote in a place that in every other sense has been accepted as our home,” Teixeira said.

Saint Anselm students have been active voters in the area for years. In the 2016 election, various campus clubs organized rides to the polls for students – a service that both Democrats and Republicans took advantage of. However, Tim Madsen ’19, the president of the Saint Anselm College Republicans, declined to comment on the legislation.

Vice President of the Saint Anselm College Democrats Haley Bragdon-Clements ’21 stressed that the issue of voting rights is not, in her mind, a partisan issue. “When the right for students to vote comes under attack it is our job to come together in opposition of such bills. This should not be a partisan issue as all of us are at risk of losing our voice,” she explained. Bragdon-Clements went on, “I would love for the College Democrats to work with the College Republicans. This is a time where we can come together and fight for something that is absolutely essential to our democracy, our right to vote.”

Whether or not the campus Republicans join the campus Democrats in opposing HB 1264 and similar measures, it will ultimately be Governor Sununu’s decision if the bill passes the Senate as expected. Sununu has maintained a general opposition to disenfranchising students but has avoided commenting specifically on whether or not he will veto HB 1264 if it gets to his desk. Without a definitive statement from the governor, the fate of students’ access to voting in New Hampshire remains uncertain.

Cover image taken from Granite State Progress; in-text photo courtesy of Sarah King ’18.

America’s Grandmother, Barbara Bush, Dies at 92

First Lady Barbara Bush, wife of the 41st president and mother of the 43rd.

She and Abigail Adams are the only women in history who hold the distinction of being the wife of one U.S. president and the mother of another. On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away peacefully at her home in Houston holding the hand of her husband, George Herbert Walker Bush to whom she was married for more than 70 years. She was 92.

Barbara Bush will always be remembered for her role as the matriarch of one of America’s most iconic political families. Her loyalty to her family was a key component of Mrs. Bush’s character. Sometimes, her devotion got her in trouble, like in 1984, when she said that her husband’s opponent for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro, was something “that rhymed with rich.” The comment reflected Mrs. Bush’s unrelenting love for her family. Years later, despite advancing age and poor health, she joined her son, Jeb, on the campaign trail extensively throughout his failed 2016 campaign for the White House.

Her down-to-earth demeanor won her more friends than enemies, though. She was open about the fact she wore fake pearls and her wit made her a top campaign surrogate in four national campaigns. Even though she was careful not to overshadow her husband, she won the affection of the nation and came to be known as America’s grandmother. It was a fitting role given that she was often surrounded by her own grandchildren while on the campaign trail.

Sarah King ’18, who wrote her senior thesis on the role of the First Lady, said she was deeply upset by Mrs. Bush’s death. “People often only associate Barbara Bush with her love story, which is surely a beautiful aspect of her life,” King said, “but I think of Mrs. Bush as the woman who held an infant with AIDS close to her chest, as the woman who won over a particularly difficult Wellesley crowd by calling for a female president, and fought for not only childhood but adult literacy.”

Mrs. Bush’s advocacy is a less-known aspect of her extensive time in the public eye, but it is an important part nonetheless. Throughout her husband’s four years as president, the First Lady traveled to classrooms around the nation to promote reading. It was a message her daughter-in-law, Laura Bush, would reiterate eight years later when Barbara’s son, George W., became the 43rd president.

In his statement on her passing, President Donald Trump acknowledged Mrs. Bush’s extensive work on the issue. “Amongst her greatest achievements was recognizing the importance of literacy as a fundamental family value that requires nurturing and protection. She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well,” the president said in a statement.

Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama also released a statement upon news of Mrs. Bush’s death. In their statement, they said they were “grateful for the way she lived her life – as a testament to the fact that public service is an important and noble calling; as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.”

As news of Mrs. Bush’s death spread throughout the nation and Saint Anselm’s campus, Sarah King helped to frame Mrs. Bush’s legacy in the context of other First Ladies. “When it comes to First Ladies it is so easy to want to place them in boxes or pit them against each other based on personality, but Barbara Bush reminds us that it’s okay to defy those expectations. She was unapologetically herself from start to finish while never diminishing those around her.” Few would disagree.

According to a directive from the White House, U.S. flags will be flown at half-staff until Mrs. Bush is buried.

Cover image from KMOV.com; portrait image from the White House Historical Association.

Erin Howard Bikes for a Cure to MS

Erin Howard ’19 (second from left) seen riding with her team during last year’s bike ride.

While students usually spend their summer months reflecting and preparing for the new school year to come, Erin Howard, a member of the class of 2019, will be training endlessly in preparation for her four Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway. The Cape Cod Getaway is a charity bike ride that focuses on raising money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that is often unpredictable and disabling and can result in dangerous, lifelong symptoms. The ride consists of traveling 150 miles, starting in Boston and ending in Provincetown, in a matter of two days. For Erin, the bike ride may not be easy, but it’s deeply personal. Her Aunt Pam, who used to participate in the Cape Cod Getaway bike ride alongside Erin and her family, was diagnosed with MS in her twenties. She is a constant motivation for Erin.

The two days are broken up into an average of 75-80 miles-per-day, and riders are greeted with monstrous amounts of support by those cheering them. Support vehicles are constantly nearby, providing water and other basic needs to the bikers while they make their tremendous ride up and down hills and bumpy roads. For Erin, her support network includes her family and friends, some of whom have been diagnosed with MS themselves, and are right there riding beside her.

The morning of the June event is less than three months away, and as the race nears, Erin has begun to reflect on her previous race experiences. She recalled her emotions as the announcer started to call out teams to officially start the ride. “The start of the day is full of some nerves building up,” she said, “but at the same time happiness as soon as we all arrive at the carrels and join our teams. The minute they start calling teams everyone gets excited and they blast music and one by one each group is sent off.”

Erin, who used to volunteer at the event, described the time she crossed the finish line and completed her first Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway, “I felt an overwhelming amount of exhaustion and joy. I was amazed that such a large amount of people could come together to complete such a mentally and physically draining two days, but all with smiles on their faces.” Erin emphasized that when it comes to the Cape Cod Getaway, everyone is a winner and that it’s important to remember the event is not a race. Everyone who is riding is working towards a better future for all those affected by MS.

With fundraising just beginning, Erin’s team, Naughty Wheelers, has raised a little under $1,000 dollars, with the ultimate goal of $20,000. Erin’s Aunt Pam continues to be an inspiration for her family to continuously push forward and help create a stronger community, where every mile provides hope for a world without MS.

You can help Erin’s effort by donating to her official Bike MS fundraising page here.

Photos provided by Erin Howard ’19.

“You’re Literally Causing Massive Public Scandal to the Knights and the Church”

Andrew Keyes (center) was an altar server and Grand Knight of the Saint Anselm College chapter of the Knights of Columbus until his recent resignation.

In recent weeks there has been confusion and controversy surrounding the events that transpired following the Knights of Columbus formal. On March 16, Andrew Keyes, who was the Grand Knight of the Council at the time, brought his boyfriend to the organization’s formal, which is held on campus in a member’s apartment. Shortly after, Keyes was asked to resign from his position as Grand Knight by Father Benedict Guevin, O.S.B.

In reflecting on the night of formal itself, Keyes explains that he was under the impression that everything went well. He was very clear that prior to the formal and in the first few days after, he had not been given any reason to believe bringing a male date would be a problem. This changed, however, when Keyes received a text the following Wednesday from Knights member Andrew Cilento which read, “1) you’re off serving 2) resign now as Grand Knight or I’m going to motion to have you removed.” A later text read, “you’re literally causing massive public scandal to the Knights and the Church.”

When asked to comment on these messages, Cilento admitted that he should have approached Keyes in person and attested to the difficulty of holding the position as Grand Knight. Cilento believes, “It was inappropriate for Mr. Keyes to hold a leadership position for a Catholic organization while being in a relationship that is contrary to the teachings of Holy Mother Church.” Despite fundamentally disagreeing with Keyes, Cilento issued a written statement saying, “I have always had great respect for Mr. Keyes, and I will continue to do so, regardless of this incident.”

In the same week as Keyes’ interaction with Cilento, Father Benedict, whom Keyes describes as a friend, contacted Keyes and requested a meeting off campus. At the end of what Fr. Benedict describes as a “lovely lunch,” he asked for Keyes’ resignation from his position as Grand Knight. Keyes’ actions led Fr. Benedict to believe his “hands were tied.” This decision came after multiple conversations with the Supreme Council.

Denying allegations of discrimination, Fr. Benedict explains that he was forced to ask for Keyes’ resignation due to the public nature of his acts. Because Keyes held a public position in a distinctly Catholic organization, he was expected to uphold Catholic values in his public life.

While many have said that this is a case of discrimination based on Keyes’ sexuality, Fr. Benedict believes that this is not the case, and “to throw around the word discrimination is unwise and untrue.” Fr. Benedict, as chaplain of the Council, is responsible for holding members to Catholic teaching. Because the Grand Knight is in an exemplary position, it is especially important that he be held to the standards of Catholic teachings. When Keyes brought a male date to the formal, he was contradicting Catholic teaching, according to Fr. Benedict. The act caused much anger and confusion within the group’s membership, especially among the younger members of the Knights.

Fr. Benedict reports that he received word that younger members were confused about how Keyes’ relationship related to the teachings of the church, and this contributed to Fr. Benedict’s request for Keyes’ resignation. Fr. Benedict was clear that he and older members of the Knights “know Mr. Keyes, we know what he’s like, we know what his reputation is.” However, younger members of the Council were confused because of Keyes’ failure to uphold the values of the Catholic Church while being in a public position of authority. Fr. Benedict explained this further. “When the Grand Knight comes in with his boyfriend you can imagine people saying, ‘What the fuck is that all about?’”

Fr. Benedict, as chaplain, had an obligation to respond to this confusion and bring clarity to the younger members of the Knights. This anger and confusion, along with urging from the Supreme Council, ultimately led to his request for Keyes’ resignation. Both Keyes and Fr. Benedict acknowledge that Keyes understood this reasoning and gracefully resigned.

Shortly after Keyes’ resignation, during Easter break, Fr. Benedict received word that many Knights were upset with the decision, claiming that Keyes was forced to resign and that this was an act of bigotry. Fr. Benedict cleared up these accusations by saying that Keyes was not forced to resign and that this is not an act of bigotry. When asked, however, what would have transpired if Keyes had not gracefully resigned, Fr. Benedict did not feel comfortable entering the realm of speculation, explaining that the Supreme Council had suggested something he was “not comfortable with.” Impeachment by a vote of the fellow knights, however, is not a specified procedure laid forth in their bylaws.

Many have claimed Keyes’ removal as Grand Knight is an attempt to avoid losing funding from the Supreme Council. The Financial Secretary of the Knights, Father Stephen Lawson, O.S.B., would like to make clear that, “The Saint Anselm College Knights of Columbus is entirely self-funded…  The notion that the Supreme Council (the national Knights organization) put financial pressure on the Saint Anselm Council is totally baseless and false because we do not receive money from our national organization.” Fr. Benedict echoes Fr. Stephen’s comments, explaining that if there is an exchange of funds, it is from the campus Council to the Supreme, not the other way around. The Knights also receive no funding from the College.

Thus, the reasoning for Keyes’ resignation is again brought back to the public display of his sexuality. Fr. Benedict maintains that “If Mr. Keyes were gay and private about it and kept his private life private, there would be no issue, but that’s not what Mr. Keyes chose to do.”

Amid questions about involvement from the ACLU, Fr. Benedict denies that he has had any contact with the ACLU. He further states that there is no reason for their involvement because this is not a case of discrimination.

Keyes, however, has received mixed reactions from members of the Knights. He expressed that the fact that he brought a male date, his boyfriend, to the Knights formal was “disgusting to a member or two.” Others have been supportive of Keyes, and Keyes says some knights have resigned in solidarity with him after the incident. Some members of the Knights have even gone as far as to suggest the Council should be dissolved, according to Keyes.

As the Catholic Church is forced to reconcile its teachings with the realities of the 21st century, questions about the Church’s beliefs and human sexuality continue to surface. The Saint Anselm community is especially susceptible to these debates because of its dual role as a monastery and place for scholarship. Keyes himself characterized the Catholicism at Saint Anselm as “traditionalist,” while reiterating Pope Francis’ question, “Who am I to judge?” It seems clear that, like the Church, Saint Anselm will be wrestling with these issues for years to come.

President Announces Strikes Against Syria

Despite warnings that Russia would retaliate, President Donald Trump addressed the nation last night and announced that the United States would launch precision airstrikes against military targets in Syria. The United Kingdom and France are joining the United States in the assault. Syria has been accused of repeatedly violating international law by using chemical weapons against civilians.

Shortly after the president’s announcement, the Russian ambassador to the United States said there would be “consequences” for the president’s decision. Russia has since called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. That meeting will occur at 11:00 am EST on Saturday, April 14. A statement this morning by Russian President Vladimir Putin “condemned” the strike, citing concern for civilians on the ground.

While Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that there would not be another attack on Syria unless they continued to use chemical weapons, President Trump said he was “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

President Trump has taken decisive action in a region that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, did not. Infamously, former President Obama referred to Syria’s use of chemical red lines as a “red line” that would necessitate a response from the United States. In the end, President Obama went to Congress for support of retaliation against Syria. Congress did not approve of the request, and no action was taken by the Obama Administration.

A tweet from Donald Trump when President Obama considered a similar airstrike against Syria.

Interestingly, President Trump called on the president to go to Congress at the time. In this strike, the Trump Administration did not seek permission from either Congress or the United Nations. Whatever the president’s history on the issue, he has made clear that the United States will not tolerate repeated breaks with international law.

The decision drew negative responses from both sides of the aisle. Some Democrats were wary of the president’s decision. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted, “So Mattis doesn’t want to strike Syria because it risks dragging U.S. into a broader war with Russia and Iran, but he has to do it anyway because Trump tweeted about it. Welcome to the Trump national security nightmare we’ve been waiting for.”

Hillary Clinton’s running mate from the 2016 election, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), called the strike “illegal.”

Some conservative supporters of the president also opposed the decision to launch military strikes. Michael Savage, a conservative radio host, tweeted his opposition, doubting whether Assad was even behind the attacks.

Debates about legality are common after these kinds of attacks, but they echo the ones launched last year by President Trump under similar circumstances. This round of strikes attacked one research facility near Damascus where the weapons were sometimes produced as well as two additional facilities, one that was being used to produce sarin gas and another that acted more as a military command post.

The international response seems to be largely supportive, especially given the inclusion of the United Kingdom and France. As of now, Russia’s retaliation seems confined to the boundaries of the United Nations, but a military response may await.

Cover image from the NY Post.

Ryan Departure Spells Bad News for GOP

On the national political landscape, the talk for nearly two years now has been about the oncoming Democratic wave in the 2018 midterms. Fueled by historically low approval ratings for President Donald Trump, a massive surge in Democrat-related activism, and the historic trends of poor performances by the President’s party in his first set of midterms, the thinking has been that the Democrats have a strong chance to take the House of Representatives for the first time since 2006 and they have a decent shot at making the Senate 50-50. The outlook for both chambers has become far brighter for the Democrats this week.

Just days ago, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) joined a growing list of Republican lawmakers announcing they were not seeking re-election. These retirements are often seen as a concession of the harsh political landscape facing the GOP in November. Ryan is the 38th Republican member of the House to stand down, according to a list published by Pew Research Center. This is the largest number of retirements for a single party since 1992, when 41 Democrats chose to retire. In the 1992 Congressional elections, Democrats lost a net-total of 9 seats but were able to maintain their overall majority in the lower chamber. Thirty-eight retirements, a number that still has time to grow, is the highest total for the Republican Party since 1930, according to the same research from Pew.

This is a very concerning sign for the GOP. Many long-time leaders of the party do not trust their chances for reelection, most of which have historically been considered safe seats, and are choosing to retire than fight on and go out in the disgrace of defeat. The current Generic Congressional ballot, according to FiveThirtyEight.com, puts Democrats at 46.2% and Republicans at 39.6%. This has become closer in recent weeks but is still a wide margin that should encourage Democratic candidates, voters, and donors.

Early on in the election cycle, it seemed like the Republicans would at least be safe in the Senate, simply because the list of seats up this year forces Democrats to defend 10 seats in states that Trump carried. Recent polling seems to indicate that, while Senators like Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) may be in tough races, Democrats are performing well in contests for seats that Republicans hold.

Representative Marsh Blackburn (R-TN) is having troubling holding on to the U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee for Republicans.

A poll from Middle Tennessee University this week found former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen with a 10% lead over Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn in the race to replace Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who this week said that voting for the GOP tax bill may have been one of the worst votes he’s made in his decade in office. While it’s unlikely that Bredesen, 74, will manage a double-digit win in Tennessee, the victory of Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama late last year shows it is possible for moderate Democrats to find success in former Republican strongholds.

In Arizona, Republicans may be forced to defend two Republican-held Senate seats at the same time. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who recently railed against President Trump at the NHIOP’s Politics and Eggs event, announced his resignation in 2017, sparking a three-way battle for the Republican nomination between an establishment candidate, Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-AZ-2), and two Tea Party or Trumpist candidates, former State Senator Kelli Ward and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whom President Trump pardoned last year for defying court orders protecting undocumented immigrants from illegal profiling.

McSally should be able to hold off Ward and Arpaio and win the nomination for Flake’s seat, but there’s a serious chance that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) could pass away or resign soon, due to complications from brain cancer, and open up another seat that Ward or Arpaio would likely have a strong chance of winning. Either Ward or Arpaio would enter the race with severe baggage; Ward has been endorsed by fascist former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Arpaio was pleased to compare a prison he ran to a “concentration camp.” If McCain remains in office through the election, it is unlikely that he will be able to serve out his complete term, which ends after the 2022 elections. This would open up another opportunity for Ward or Arpaio to run for the seat and, probably, endanger Republican chances in the same manner that Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore did in his race in 2017.

Paul Ryan (R-WI) became the 54th Speaker of the House on October 29, 2015.

Ryan is the most senior Republican to announce his retirement, but he  likely won’t be the last. A recent poll found that Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman as the Chair of the House Republican Conference, with a neck-and-neck race in her Spokane-based district against Lisa Browne, the former Chancellor of Washington State University-Spokane. McMorris Rodgers has held her seat safely since 2005. With two of the most senior House Republicans choosing to either step-down or face a far-closer-than-normal election, combined with extreme swings towards the Democratic Party in nearly every special election since President Trump took office, there should be real fear in Republicans about losing control of Congress altogether.

Up and down the country, Republican lawmakers are feeling the pressure for their relationship with the White House – and the wrath of their constituents. It’s worth noting that some of the most popular Republicans in the country are the Northeast Republican Governors who have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the toxic Trump Administration, especially Charlie Baker (R-MA) and Phil Scott (R-VT), as well as New Hampshire’s own Chris Sununu.

Batten down the hatches, it looks like there’s more than a blue wave coming in November. It’s shaping up to be a tsunami.

The cover image is taken from vox.com. Blackburn image is taken from CNBC. The third image is taken from PBS.

Lyons: Dear LGBTQ Students

Dear LGBTQ Students,

This letter is to let you know that you have a right to be here.

I know that this campus doesn’t always feel welcoming. Sometimes our value of Benedictine hospitality doesn’t extend as far as it should. If you’re in the closet, you know that there are people who “disagree” with who you are. If you’re out, you might have faced backlash or judgment from students, professors, or organizations on campus. I know I’ve heard many hurtful things from students and faculty alike.

So, I’m here to remind you that you have a right to be here. We have a right to be here. I swear to you that there are so many people on this campus who support you wholeheartedly and will fight for you with everything they have. There are more LGBTQ students and professors than you may know.

I get how it feels to be in an environment that in many cases does not accept you. We are barred from certain positions or spaces because of who we are. That is called discrimination and it is wrong. I know some days it may feel like nothing is changing. But look at history. We still have a long way to go to overcome racism, but just in the past fifty years, we have made huge strides. It’s frustrating, it’s unjust, it’s exhausting, but I promise that we will get there. Just the fact that you’re here, whether you’re out or not, deserves major praise. (And especially to LGBTQ students of color, you’re fighting two battles at once and you often go unrecognized and uncelebrated. Please let me know if there’s anything I, and this school, can do to be a better ally).

Some days you wake up feeling completely confident (or at least pretty sure) with yourself and who you are. Other days, you wake up and find you’re under attack from people who don’t understand what it means to be LGBTQ+. It’s a pain in the ass, but we’re going to have to teach those people. And the best way to do that is by existing as yourself and being proud of your identity (it doesn’t matter if you’re out or not, you make a difference just by being at this school).

Say it with me. Right now. In your head if you want (or you can go scream this from the Alumni Quad, major props if you do):

“I have the right to be who I am without fear of discrimination. I have the right to openly, boldly show my identity without fear of judgment. I have the right to be without fear. I have the right to be.”

We are so damn valid. We are so damn awesome. We are so gonna change the world, starting with this campus.

Yours in resistance to all injustice,
Jenna Lyons

Ginny Lauzon Fights for Her Nana

Once a year, the Saint Anselm community joins together for a night of reflection, celebration, and determination to raise awareness for a disease that had claimed so many lives. Relay for Life is not only a fundraising event for a cure to cancer but a chance for communities to join together and give positive change and support to those who need it. By forming a team and pledging to have at least one member walk around a track for one night at all times, participants get to envision what life is like for a patient who is not allowed to stop their battle with cancer. Ginny Lauzon, a member of the class of 2019, has her own reason to walk the track on Friday, April 13th.

Ginny is from North Andover, Massachusetts and is currently studying biology with a pre-vet path, here at Saint Anselm College. In the past, Ginny has participated in multiple Relay for Life events at Saint Anselm, typically walking for friends and other members of her community, but this year will be different. Two months ago, her grandmother, with whom she shares the same name, was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent major surgery to begin her battle. It was the first time that cancer has hit close to home for Ginny and it has inspired her to start her own relay team after her grandmother, called “Nana’s Fighters.”

Since her grandmother’s initial diagnosis, Ginny says Nana has received numerous flowers and cards filled with well-wishes. Members of her town and church have all reached out to show her how loved and supported she is, and Ginny herself has seen the outpouring of support through her own friends and fellow Anselmians who all pledged to walk with her in honor of her grandmother.

Ginny’s grandmother helps to remind a community that cancer is not something that can slow her down. Her willpower and determination are unlike anyone else’s. Ginny went to see her grandmother after the surgery and walked in to see her grandmother baking Easter cookies. Despite her diagnosis, the original Virginia Lauzon continues to continue her routine as much as she can.

Nana’s Fighters currently has 16 team members and has raised over $1,500 in support of Relay for Life. Ginny has a message for the community, “Even if you’re not walking for someone you personally know or love, I think there is power in numbers—and not just the power of a dollar sign or how much money you’ve raised, but power in people walking for someone they know. Raising awareness and coming together can be just as important.”

Photo courtesy of Ginny Lauzon.