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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
The Inaugural Million Pair Initiative
by Jessica Lorenson, PS-4, Community Outreach Chair
“You have cancer.” One sentence changes the lives of millions of people in an instant. In an effort to lift the veil of cancer and provide for people in the poorest countries on Earth, our chapter teamed up with The Half Fund Organization. The Half Fund is a nonprofit organization based in St. Louis, Missouri whose aim is to educate people about the realities of a cancer diagnosis and become a beacon of light and support.
The founder of The Half Fund and cancer survivor, Dan Duffy, was filming outreach efforts by another organization, Soles for Souls in Haiti following the devastating earthquake. While on assignment, he saw what an incredible impact a single pair of shoes could make. Most striking was a story he shared about a mother so malnourished, she was unable to feed her baby. Using a donated pair of shoes as currency, she was able to trade for a goat and provide milk the baby so desperately needed. Inspired by this story, Dan found a charity organization that contributed money for every shoe donation. He also set an incredible goal, to donate one million pairs of shoes to various countries all over the world and use the money matched to provide cancer education.
Motivated by The Half Fund’s initiative, our SSHP chapter set up a shoe drive. There was an overwhelming response from our students and faculty members. Even more humbling, our students reached out to their families and coworkers, involving our local community. The shoe drive was quite a success, with over 150 pairs of shoes contributed. The Half Fund is well on their way, having collected almost 150,000 pairs of shoes to date, and the SIUE SSHP chapter looks forward to many more collaborative drives in the future.