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At the beginning of the month, Miami, Fla. hosted the latest race in the “Divas Half-Marathon and 5K” series. The series claims to empower its female participants by awarding prizes of Botox, laser hair removal and teeth whitening to the first, second and third-place finishers in each age group.
While the prizes themselves are concerning and problematic, it gets worse: participants as young as 18 may be awarded any of these prizes, while those as young as 15 may win anything except Botox.
The series’ website claims that “Divas” is “the most fun and glam women’s half marathon series in the nation,” noting that “this series is all about girl power.” These claims lead me to question why any racer, female or not, should desire that an athletic competition be “glam” at all.
It also concerns me that the Continental Event and Sports Management group can, as the organizers of the event, knowingly make the claim that “girl power” may be gained through the administration of a cosmetic surgery that inherently rejects natural beauty and places great value on the false “beauty” created by unnatural alterations to a woman’s body.
While it is admirable that the series encourages fitness in women, the prizes completely negate any positive effects created by this premise. Teaching young girls that these cosmetic procedures empower women gives them a distorted view of ideal femininity that is only perpetuated by images of unnatural beauty in the media. Because girls as young as eight years old are allowed to compete in the 5K, these distorted images will be presented to girls at a very young and impressionable age.
What’s more, the prizes are the opposite of empowering. Rather, they are quite demeaning because they encourage these women to rid themselves of the flaws that make them human. In awarding these prizes, the organizers also presume an inherent female interest in such unnatural beautification. Assuming that women need such incentives to enter an athletic event discounts and insults women.
In order for the race to actually be empowering to women, the prizes – if there must be any at all – should simply be the medals or trophies the other finishers receive. The cosmetic prizes take legitimacy away from the event and from female athletics as a whole. As a woman, I was very insulted and dismayed when I read passages such as this on the event’s website:
“Remember when you were younger and would stand in front of the mirror playing dress up? Well, just because you’re a grown-up doesn’t mean you can’t be a princess! Throw on a boa and tiara along the course for an instant pick-me-up, and remember to smile for the cameras when you cross the finish line!”
This is offensive to women for countless reasons. First, it encourages adherence to a very specific type of femininity with which not all women identify. Secondly, it demeans women by assuming that they desire to “play dress up” at all, especially in a race like a half marathon that requires a high level of athletic ability, endurance and concentration.
While claims like this are likely intended to be light-hearted, the organizers of this series should make more of an effort to consider the viewpoints of more diverse types of women and not simply assume that the gender as a whole holds one set of values.
Most importantly, they should show women the respect they deserve by refraining from passing sweeping judgments about and encouraging adherence to a demeaning view of the female gender.
Nina Haggen ’15 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from St. Paul, Minn. She majors in English.
Have we reached the beginning of the end of AIDS? Alumni Achievement Award winner Diane Havlir ’80 addressed that question on Friday, Nov. 8 during her talk in Regents Hall.
Havlir is a professor of medicine and a physician at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and serves as Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital. When the AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s she was working at UCSF, and now she has been involved in patient care and clinical research for more than 25 years.
Havlir began her talk by sketching out the history of AIDS, from theories about its origin to the AIDS epidemic to the eventual discovery of effective treatment options. At the end of her speech, she reached the big question: can we conquer AIDS? She made it clear that for her, the answer is yes.
“We have a set of breakthrough scientific advances that occurred in the past couple of years,” she said.
Havlir listed “treatment as prevention,” circumcision for adult males and other discoveries, saying that the path to ending AIDS is simple: prevent further infections, detect the disease early and treat patients successfully.
For a more detailed description of that path, Havlir delved into a program she has helped develop called “Test and Treat.” Initially, Havlir’s program conducted tests in communities in east Africa to see if treating everyone in a given population would prove more effective than treating only people who had already contracted the disease, as the World Health Organization recommends. She found that treating people while they are still healthy proved most effective.
With a more inclusive treatment plan, Havlir said, “You can build clinics and not hospitals.” The “Test and Treat” program set up clinics in communities highly affected by AIDS in order to offer both treatment for the disease and general health services. Havlir stressed that “this is for health,” not just for AIDS treatment.
As evidence that the end of AIDS is near, Havlir cited numerous hopeful trends, including more people living with HIV and a projected elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission by 2015. She called this goal “the first milestone.”
Havlir also noted barriers standing in the way of ending AIDS, the most salient of which could be financial.
“We can’t end the AIDS epidemic without money,” she said.
As for further challenges, Havlir cited patients being unaware of their status, the delay in starting therapy and inadequate outreach to particularly vulnerable populations.The fight to end AIDS has long been on the mind of several students who met with Havlir during her visit to campus. Jade Zheng is co-chair of Oles Face AIDS, an activist organization that aims to equip young people for the fight against HIV/AIDS and to offer support to HIV-affected youth. Zheng and other students discussed the role of AIDS activism over breakfast during Havlir’s visit.“[Havlir] said that the AIDS activists really changed the conventional way of how global health works by “putting themselves at the table” and engaging the patients and people at the grassroots, which later on had a profound impact on the progress of global health,” Zheng said.For Zheng, Havlir’s visit and lecture reinforced her desire to address social justice issues after graduating from St. Olaf.
“I did not quite realize [before Havlir’s visit] what a profound role AIDS activists played in relation to the greater global health community,” Zheng said. “Hearing her positive perspectives on the role youth can play in [fundraising and advocacy] was very empowering and motivating.”
Havlir’s overall take-home message was one of hope and continued dedication. “I believe we have the scientific tools to begin to end AIDS,” she said. A key ingredient in the solution might just be the work of the next generation of AIDS caregivers, researchers and activists.
Many college seniors are currently busy applying to jobs and programs, but what about students who dream of creating their own company?
The St. Olaf College Piper Center for Vocation and Career recently invited a small group of students interested in entrepreneurship and innovation to visit CoCo Minneapolis, a coworking space that provides small companies with offices and meeting rooms they can use as the base of their operations.
The students, who had each received a Finstad Entrepreneurial Grant or had been selected for the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, were invited to CoCo as part of the St. Olaf Entrepreneurial Internship Program. The visit to the coworking space enabled them to engage in discussion with, and offer their services to, the small business owners who are currently making use of the facility.
They also heard from entrepreneurs who used CoCo to jump start successful companies, including Jon Pearce ’01, the CEO and founder of Zipnosis, a diagnostic site that connects clinicians and patients online.
“Taking even a couple hours to see, nuts and bolts, where and how entrepreneurs live and work, is a vital experience to have,” says Pearce. “It expands young minds, and hopefully instills a realistic expectation for what it takes to be an entrepreneur.”
The Entrepreneurial Internship Program is based on a similar program created by the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management for its MBA students.
“Owners of these companies at CoCo believe our students are as good as those getting their MBAs at the University of Minnesota,” says St. Olaf Associate Director of Entrepreneurship Roberto Zayas. “Needless to say, we are very proud of our students' skills and achievements.”
The visit to CoCo was an opportunity to connect students to internships that will provide hands-on experience in the world of start-up companies. The trip also gave many of the students an up-close look at the reality of being an entrepreneur.
“It’s easy to envision becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates,” says Patrick McWilliams ’14. "But little thought goes into the enormous sacrifices, dedication, and absolute confidence that everyday entrepreneurs must achieve. The entrepreneurs at CoCo showed me this through real personal stories and examples.”
Abdi Musse '15 says visiting CoCo made him realize the power and importance of networking.
"Whether you enjoy networking or not, it always helps to find out as much as you can about a sector," he says. "Learning to have conversations with a wider group of people is a relatively small step, but it will still make a big difference.”
According to Pearce, these small steps are crucial to the success of an innovator.
“It’s not about the idea, but making the choice to start walking, heading toward the change and vision you see,” he says. “I challenge all Oles to think broadly about their own experience and how they might share with the next generation.”
By Seth Ellingson ’15, PoliticOle Columnist
Nearly two months ago, the Afghan National Soccer team beat India 2-0 in the South Asian Football Federation Championship. Kabul erupted in a week-long party. Players were carted off the field in armored personnel carriers. Gunshots rang out over the city, not from insurgents but from ecstatic residents. Despite the jubilee, the celebration gave Afghans only a brief respite from reality. With US withdrawal from Afghanistan well underway, the victory offered an optimistic yet fake picture of the nation. Once the troops are gone, soccer and that fragile national unity may go with them.
Politicians and generals tend to focus on the security aspects of the mission in Afghanistan. They will flaunt the fact that Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) now carry out 98% of all military operations and are able to secure some 90% of the country. Based on these statistics, the war in Afghanistan seems to have ended in victory.
Despite the transformation of the ANSF from a provincial band of AK armed fighters into a force that can hold coalition gains, the force is not where close to being sustainable after withdrawal. Reports on the ANSF seem more preoccupied with the success on paper than the force has made rather than what that force actually consists of. For example, 30% of ANSF troops do not stay with the force longer than a year due to desertion, defection or simply not re-enlisting. Those troops are also overwhelmingly Tajik instead of Pashtun, the Southern majority group in Afghanistan. These troops may appear to be winning on paper, but that offers a false sense of reality.
The lack of ethnic representation in the ANSF ranks represents the greatest hurdle for the withdrawing coalition forces. Fourteen different ethnic groups divide Afghanistan’s 27 million population. As it stands, the ANSF still sports an overwhelming northern majority among its ranks. Recruiting efforts in the Pushtu-dominated Southern provinces yielded little success. With unemployment spiking to 35%, one would assume that the steady army paycheck would seem enticing. Divisions in the country run so deep, that in the Southern provinces Afghan soldiers are just as foreign as their American companions. They even have to use translators to talk to the locals. Essentially, the ANSF comprises of the remnants of the Northern Alliance, the historic rival to the Taliban.
Furthermore, the ANSF still relies heavily on coalition forces in the field for close air support, medical evacuations, supplies, munitions, weapons and armaments. The ANSF has been set up in a way that will require long term funding, mostly from the US. This characteristic reflects the prevailing philosophy in training the ANSF: they need a modern, Western style army and that coalition forces get full reign over every aspect of the ANSF because they are funding it. This practice creates a focus on the short-term instead of the long-term in Afghanistan. In the short-term, the US in particular focuses on quantity, not quality.
Soccer did not really exist in Afghanistan following the Soviet Invasion. The Afghan national team’s victory over India highlights a crucial point on the conflict in the country. With generous international support and presence, the country competes with more powerful regional rivals. The recent victory demonstrates the progress the country has made with powerful international players running the show, yet no one knows what will happen to the country after withdrawal.
Seth Ellingson ’15 a History, Political Science, and Russian major from Kennesaw, Georgia. Seth is a regular PoliticOle Columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.
For the seventh year in a row, the Carleton College men’s soccer program had at least three players named to the All-MIAC Team. Seniors Neil Bartholomay and Will Corcoran plus sophomore Branden McGarrity are each repeat selections to the all-conference squad. Additionally, sophomore defender Trent Elmore was voted All-MIAC Honorable Mention.
The St. Olaf men’s hockey team traveled across the state border for a pair of games over the weekend. The Oles were looking for their first win of the season, but unfortunately returned home after suffering two losses.
On Friday, Nov. 8, St. Olaf played away against University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and found themselves right in the contest early on. The Oles responded twice after conceding goals in the first period, with scores from Dan Cecka ’14 and Bryan Glynn ’14, respectively, levelling the contest.
After falling behind 0-1 early, Cecka scored an unassisted goal at 6:54 in the first period. Glynn found the net with 10:27 left in the second period to tie the game at 2-2. His goal was assisted by Dylan Porter ’14 and Cecka.
Unfortunately for St. Olaf, that was as close as they got for the rest of the night, with UW-Eau Claire scoring three more times – the final goal coming with 39 seconds left in regulation time – to close out a 5-2 victory.
St. Olaf then faced the strong University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on the following evening. The Oles were still in search of an elusive first win for the season. The encounter proved to be tougher than that of the previous night, with the Oles suffering a crushing 1-8 loss.
Joe Kalisz and Kyle Brodie each scored two goals for UW-Stevens Point. The Pointers are off to their best start since 2008-2009 and boast the nation’s leading offense.
Alex Brooks had three assists for UW-Stevens Point. He was one of four Pointers that had at least two assists in the victory. Cecka had the Oles’ only goal. He scored on an assist from JT Paine ’17 and Steven Sherman ’17 midway through the third period.
St. Olaf (0-4) will return to action for their first MIAC contest of the season on Nov. 15 against St. John’s University (2-2) at the Northfield Ice Arena. The match-up is also the Johnnies’ first conference game of the season, and both teams will be looking to secure their first MIAC points.
If the key to achieving a dream is to follow one’s heart, where does one find the heart? Simple: home. Defining home is not so simple. This complexity is explored musically throughout “In the Heights,” the second official St. Olaf Theater Department production of the season.
“Is it where you came from, where you are or where you’re going?” asked Kelsey Myers ’17, the show’s assistant director.
The musical was selected in part because of its significance in the context of a college campus: Students come from various corners of the country and world, live here at St. Olaf College and are contemplating where they will go with their lives. But of these three stages in each individual’s life, which do they truly consider home? Mirroring an infamously confusing period of life, “In the Heights” seeks to provide guidance to those grappling with this question.
The play follows the owner of a bodega in the “barrio” of Manhattan over the course of three days as he witnesses the inspirations and decimations of dreams. Change is coming for all the characters, and it is time to face their pasts before they can leap into their futures.
The show is a challenging but enticing kaleidoscope of dance and music focusing on one Latino community that is united by the heartbeat of dreams. With its cultural foundations in a Spanish-speaking community, much of the show involves songs with Spanish lyrics, such as “¡No Me Diga!” (“You Don’t Say!”). In order to honor the show’s roots, Natalia Romero ’15, who is originally from Colombia, instructed the cast on correct pronunciation and diction. The key to learning Spanish was “repetition,” according to Romero. This meant constantly repeating lines and songs with Romero’s guidance to ensure the right accents and timing.
“The actors were proactive about meeting up to discuss and learn the Spanish on their own time,” Romero said.
Once the language was mastered, the music was the next obstacle. The blending of music was difficult due to the many different Latin dance rhythms that swirl through the songs. There are distinct traces not only of salsa music, but also of rap, which helps to narrate the play. However, rather than the harsher style of rap that is championed by many artists today, the rap in the show is meant to be “conversational.” Romero, who is also the show’s musical director, remarked that this style of rap “made the show unique.”
The generally held consensus was that the music was “challenging but fun,” Romero said.
From this blend of styles emerges one of the most well-known aspects of the show: dance.
“This is very dance-heavy. It’s not an easy show,” Romero said. Styles in the show range from break-dancing to partner salsa dancing and practically everything in between. Even during scene transitions, characters will emerge from the façades and dance together. The dance choreography was styled by two dance instructors brought in by the play’s director, Professor of Theater Karen Wilson.
The ensemble’s constant presence keeps the show’s dance aspect in focus. They are everywhere. Even during solos, they will join in the musical expression, even if just to add ambiance with background dancing. The intricate interactions of the population of the barrio are reinforced by the cast’s cohesive warmth.
“Everyone is happy, super cooperative and welcoming” said Myers. “It speaks to the theater as a family. This is our home.”
Romero echoed Myers, saying that the cast members “all have a lot of personality, which is fun to see.”
Despite a mixture of class years and perspectives, the cast bonded through the rigors of rehearsals. This characteristic fondness is echoed by the musical’s director. Leading this cast of characters is Wilson, whom Myers described as “an amazing fairy godmother of a person.”
Through language lessons, dance rehearsals, original student-designed lighting and clear dedication to learning new styles of music, the members of “In the Heights” have prepared a whirlwind of a tale for their audiences.
So just where is home? Go see the show to find out! Tickets are on sale online and at the Theater Building box office. The play is scheduled to take place in Kelsey Theater on Nov. 15-17 and 22-24. All showings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. with the exception of Nov. 17, which is at 2 p.m. and Nov. 24, which is at 1 p.m.
Photo Credit: VALENTINA YANG/MANITOU MESSENGER
Excuse me while I get up on my soapbox and put my ex-Wellness Center Peer Educator hat on. No matter how many cups of coffee you have, nothing can replace the effect a night of good sleep has on your ability to learn, retain and recall information. Nothing.
Pardon my dramatization, but it seems to be a common conception on this campus that there’s some sort of magic ratio that will give you the same learning potential eight hours of sleep would – such as substituting one cup of coffee for every one hour of missed sleep. We carry mugs covered in all-day-coffee stickers like each one is a merit badge earned from a late night of studying.
Caffeine cannot replace sleep, and I think deep down we realize that. I’ve definitely made it through many lectures fully awake thanks to the cup of black tea in my hand, but the moment they were over, I was unable to recall anything that had happened or had been said.
This zombie-like effect arises out of the science of caffeine; it is an addictive drug that acts on adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine accumulates in the brain over the course of the day in accordance with your circadian rhythm and makes you weary. Caffeine binds to adenosine receptors in the brain without producing the same groggy effects adenosine would and prevents actual adenosine from binding to the receptors.
This process activates your body’s fight-or-flight response: the rapid beating heart and sense of anxiety you get after coffee would be the same feeling you would have if you were being chased by a tiger in the wild.
In short, caffeine increases arousal by acting on your fight-or-flight response. Astrid Nehlig published a review article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease confirming this fact. Nehlig also said that caffeine – in moderate doses – can increase concentration and elevate mood. As much as I hate to admit it, caffeine can also help learning in situations of decreased arousal: So if you didn’t sleep much one night and need to learn the next day, coffee is not a bad idea.
However, Nehlig notes that in higher quantities, caffeine increases blood pressure and heart rate to a maladaptive level. Caffeine also prevents you from using new information and storing new memories. This means that what you read or learn is likely to slip right out of your brain within the day.
The other factor that plays into memory, and thus into learning as well, is the sleep cycle. Ruth Bolstad, Academic Strategist and Consulting Coordinator for the Academic Support Center, explained that part of the sleep cycle is spent re-creating the chemicals needed for learning. Interrupting that process (or not letting it come to completion) leaves our ability to learn incomplete.
Not sleeping also makes us tired, obviously, so we equate these two processes as one and the same. That’s why we think drinking coffee will allow us to learn better. In reality, coffee does nothing to restore those chemicals that help us to retain or process information, and this caffeinated crutch we often lean on actively hinders the learning process. In the big picture, this means we have to alter our sleep habits in order to achieve our highest academic performance.
Just as an added caveat, in a sleep study published in the College Student Journal, William E. Kelly studied students who consistently got eight hours of sleep and compared them to students who usually got six. Stanford did a study where they paid students to get an hour more of sleep a night, no matter what they averaged before.
What did these researchers find? Students who got more sleep had higher GPAs in both instances. Just think: increasing your GPA could be as easy as just going to bed.
Michael Enich ’14 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Chicago, Ill. He majors in religion.
Graphic Credit: ALLI LIVINGSTON/MANITOU MESSENGER
On Wednesday, Nov. 6 in the Lion’s Pause, the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) held its first Government Internships Fair.
At least 60 students attended the event, where they networked with liaisons from political offices and organizations at the local, state and federal levels. Also among the attendees were state senate candidate Mike Obermueller and Rep. David Bly (D-Northfield).
PAC modeled the event after Ole Biz and Ole Med. These feature sessions of mingling and informal networking were punctuated by “pop-up” speakers who gave short speeches summarizing their specific careers and fields.
PAC Coordinator Rachel Palermo ’15 found inspiration for the fair over the summer while interning for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
“I got there and my first thought was, ‘Why aren’t there more Oles here taking advantage of all these internships?’” Palermo said. “We’re well-qualified. They’re the kind of positions we’re interested in.”
Will Lutterman ’14, PAC Special Events Coordinator, had the idea to bring in local and state-level organizations for those unable to travel all the way to D.C. He and other PAC members reached out to organizations, networked with alumni and drew on their own professional connections to compile the invitation list.
“This was the first time there’s ever been a student-run career event,” Lutterman said.
Participating organizations included the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. and Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives, the Minnesota DFL, the Minnesota Green Party, the Office of Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Northfield City Council, Obermueller for Congress and Holiday Co.
According to Lutterman and Palermo, the fair offered an excellent opportunity for Oles interested in the public sector to get a leg up in locating otherwise difficult-to-find internships.
“A lot of these opportunities are never posted. They’re informal and relationship-based,” Lutterman said. “You have to know the right people.”
Palermo described the event as well-rounded. One pop-up speaker spoke about working in government relations for a private company and the lobbying field, offering information to attendees interested in the private sector.
Students were able to speak face-to-face with liaisons and internship coordinators who might have hundreds of applications to sift through. Though they do not have specific numbers, Palermo and Lutterman said some students learned of positions and turned in applications as a result of the event.
“It was encouraging to see those connections being made,” Palermo said.
Event organizers opted to keep the event on campus rather than bus students to the Cities as Ole Biz and Ole Med do. This kept the event informal, and Palermo hopes attendees walked away feeling more comfortable networking in a variety of professional settings.
The organizing that went into the event, Palermo said, was a rewarding process.
“All it takes is a few people to say ‘We’re going to do this,’ and then start planning,” Palermo said.
Palermo emphasized her hope that the event would encourage more St. Olaf students to apply for those prestigious and seemingly unattainable internships. The internship fair was a stepping stone toward that goal.
By bringing representatives from these prestigious offices together, “We took these highly selective positions and made them manageable for Oles,” Lutterman added.
Given its success, PAC hopes to make the internship fair an annual event.
“We hope people do this in the future, too. We don’t have the resources the Piper Center does, but for everyone who came it was a very valuable experience,” Lutterman said.
email@example.comPhoto Credit: BEKAH ENGSTRAND/MANIOTU MESSENGER
Three members of the Carleton College women’s soccer team received recognition today as the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference handed out its all-conference awards. Senior defender Layne Teska and junior midfielder Bailey Ulbricht were named to the All-MIAC First Team while sophomore goalkeeper Mikayla Coulombe was tabbed All-MIAC Honorable Mention.
As part of Minnesota's "Give to the Max Day," the public is invited to celebrate area non-profits and the season of giving with a special event at The Grand Event Center from 5 to 9 p.m. tonight. Attendees can learn more about over twenty area non-profit organizations, and enjoy free food and cash bar along with a line-up of entertainment presented by a local magician, the Carleton Juggling F.I.S.H. Club, the St. Olaf College Swing Dance Club, and dancing to the sounds of Matt Arthur & The Bratlanders (recently voted Southern Minnesota's 'best bar band' by Southern MN 'Scene' magazine). The event is open to all ages and admission is free with a Give to the Max Day donation of $10 or more to the organization of your choice.
Reflections from a weekend at the Real Food Challenge National Summit
Senior football player Jack Reardon was featured in a Nov. 14 Star Tribune blog post. Reardon has overcome several injuries to finally break into the Knights starting lineup. Read the blog post here.
NORTHFIELD, Minn. - The St. Olaf wrestling team (1-0)opened the season with a win on Thursday, defeating UW-Eau Claire (0-1) 24-13 at the Skoglund Center.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The St. Olaf men's soccer team had four on the MIAC all-conference team, the league announced on Thursday.
ST. PAUL, Minn. - St. Olaf sophomore Kajsa Brindley and senior goalkeeper Nora Forbes were named the MIAC women's soccer all-conference team on Thursday.
Carleton College’s African Drum Ensemble, directed by Jay Johnson, will give its fall recital in the Sayles-Hill Great Space on Tues., Nov 19 at 4 p.m. This always popular performance is free and open to the public.
The Carleton College Orchestra, under the direction of Hector Valdivia, will present its fall concert this Friday, Nov. 15 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall. The Orchestra will perform Wagner’s Rienzi Overture, Schulhoff’s Suite, Op. 37, Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, and Strauss’ Dance of the Seven Veils. This event is free and open to the public.
The noise level in the front row at a rock concert is typically about 110 decibels. For the eighth annual "Hour of Power", the cheering inside Carleton College’s Thorpe Pool topped 120 on Tuesday. The event increases awareness of sarcoma—a soft-tissue cancer—and seeks to raise funds to research a cure of the disease.