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HPU Alumna Raises $500,000 For Cancer Research

Brittany Vose, ’17, once wore a Greek-lettered T-shirt and backpack filled with books as she hurried across High Point University’s campus to class. She blended in, like most students, on a college campus.

On paper, she was a star: a Dean’s List student at High Point University, double major in psychology and SpanishBonner Leader and philanthropy chair for her Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

But inside, there’s more. She holds an accomplishment most have never achieved – she’s raised almost half a million dollars for pancreatic cancer research. And she’s built some incredible partnerships to help make that happen.

On June 24 during the PGA Traveler’s Championship in her hometown of Cromwell, Connecticut, Vose expects to hit the $500,000 in funds raised during the Cure Pancreatic Cancer Walk she began organizing when she was just 13 years old. This year marks the ninth consecutive year she’s organized the walk.

She endured losing her father at a young age, and, instead of letting grief get the best of her, overcame adversity to fight back against the thing that took him from her – pancreatic cancer.

Making History

Vose lost her dad to pancreatic cancer when she was just five years old. As she got older, she wanted to do more to raise awareness and find a cure for the fourth deadliest cancer in America.

While still in high school, the Cromwell, Connecticut native decided to organize and host the inaugural John Vose Walk, named after her father, in her hometown.

“That first walk was held in a little empty parking lot by my house,” Vose says. “We spread the word through family and friends and local business. That walk raised $20,000 my first year, which is incredible. You don’t expect that out of your first year.”

Fast forward to today.

Vose’s efforts have grown exponentially. The walk, now called The 18 Hole Stroll for Pancreatic Cancer Research, is part of the annual Travelers Championship PGA Tour held in Cromwell. She partners with The Lustgarten Foundation, so 100 percent of what she raises goes directly toward pancreatic cancer research.

Thanks to her dedicated philanthropic efforts, Vose has made history.

Travelers selected her as an honorary co-chair for the championship in June 2015, which allowed Vose to be part of the opening and closing ceremonies. And despite a downpour of rain – the first time it had ever rained during one of her walks – she raised more money than ever before.

Participation and funds raised have continued to climb every year. Travelers Insurance Company even wrote a story about Vose’s work and flew a camera crew down to HPU’s campus to film her. (Watch the video they created below.)

A Giving Spirit

Vose has a committee of people that helps her organize the event-filled day: from hosting breakfast, booking music, gathering items for silent auctions, raising funds, securing participants, inviting speakers, updating their website and more. It takes Vose and her team an entire year to plan for the event.

She continued these efforts from afar during her time at HPU, where she also volunteered at the local Community Writing Center in High Point through the Bonner program. She organized events on campus to raise money for the Alpha Gamma Delta foundation auctions, which supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

Although she was 700 miles from Cromwell, Vose says HPU felt like home and helped her take the next step in her career.

“Walking onto this campus for the first time, within seconds, I turned to my mom and said, ‘This is where I’m going to spend my next four years.’ It’s a campus that I love being a part of. The purple all around helps as well – purple is the color of pancreatic cancer, so I feel like my dad was here with me, too.”

She received her degree in psychology in December 2017 and will begin a clinical psychology master’s program in the fall.

“I view psychology as a way of giving back,” she says. “I think it’s shaped me into the person that I am today, after losing my dad. I’m ready to shape other peoples’ lives through it.”

Raising more than $500,000 for cancer research is a huge accomplishment.

But Vose’s humility still shines through.

“It means the world to me, knowing that all this money is being raised and all this awareness is being brought to the world,” she told the camera crew. “But I don’t take it personally. It’s not for me. This is my way of giving back and helping others not go through what I’ve gone through. That’s what’s important.”

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