Marshall athletic training students win fundraising competition for LivON Foundation to help prevent colon cancer

Updated 3 years ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Athletic training students from Marshall University and the University of Charleston joined forces last month to compete against students from five other states to win a fundraising competition for the LivON Foundation, which helps support prevention of colon cancer.

The competition took place during the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Training Conference held in Virginia Beach, Va.

Zach Garrett, interim director for the department of athletic training, said the competition was called a Penny War and students were given positive points for collecting change and negative points for bills.

"Students competed against other states in the district and the state of West Virginia came out on top raising over $162 in change in just a little over a week," Garrett said. "Many other states didn't even realize West Virginia was at the conference, let alone participating in the competition. It felt good to be recognized amongst the other states for such a worthy cause."
Casey Kyriacopoulos, a 21-year old athletic training student in Marshall's College of Health Professions, said at first she wanted to participate in the fundraiser due to her competitive nature, but once she learned more about the LivON Foundation, everything changed.

"LivON focuses on preventing cancer for young people and it makes it a little closer to home for us," Kyriacopoulos said. "Once I read more about LivON, I wanted to do it even more. I am so happy we did this."

Olivia Naples Bostic, founder of the LivON Foundation, said she was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic colon cancer at age 37. As a physician assistant for 10 years, Bostic said she has developed a relationship with local athletic trainers.

"I have been a physician assistant for 10 years specializing in sports medicine," Bostic said. "With LivON, I knew I wanted to do something, to put my talents and experience out there, but only if I was truly inspired. One of the local athletic trainers heard my story and turned it over to the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Training Conference for help."

Bostic said the money raised by the West Virginia athletic training students during the fundraising competition will help support diagnosis of colon cancer for those under 50 years of age. According to their web site, many individuals under age 50 go undiagnosed because symptoms are unnoticed, embarrassing to discuss or are explained away for a person with no history of colon cancer. As a result, the LivON Foundation is working to increase awareness of symptoms and hopeful prevention of colon cancer.

"You will never know when something traumatizing will happen to you," Bostic said. "It makes you realize that the little issues you worry about are minimal.  People ask me how I handle this with grace and happiness and I answer: someone always has it worse. One must always look on the bright side of everything."

To learn more about the LivON Foundation and ways you can help, visit online. To learn more about Marshall's athletic training department, visit online

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