FROM READERS: What it means to be 'rocker' for Rock-A-Thon fundraiser

Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 12:00 p.m. CDT
Brendan Lyss poses in a rocking chair before making an appearance on Fox 2 News in St. Louis.

Brendan Lyss is the rocker for Alpha Epsilon Pi's Rock-A-Thon fundraiser from April 25-27. Rock-A-Thon raises money for American Cancer Society.

Every two years the men of Alpha Epsilon Pi undertake a collective effort to raise money for cancer research. It’s called Rock-A-Thon and it is the singular most important event we participate in as a fraternity. We elect one person to sit in a rocking chair on the corner of Ninth and Broadway for three days without getting up, while the rest of the chapter members solicit donations for cancer research. Being elected the “Rocker” is considered the highest honor in our Fraternity, and it is with great humility that I accept this responsibility.

I come from a medical background; my mom is a nurse practitioner and my dad an oncologist in St. Louis. Cancer is a disease that hits very close to home for our family. Three of my grandparents passed away from cancer, and both my dad and brother were diagnosed with Lymphoma within the last five years. Thankfully, both are in remission. It is very important for me to represent my family on the rocking chair and rock for my family.

Everyone has his or her story with cancer. It is a disease that most people are affected by in one way or another. That’s what makes our work so gratifying. In 2011, Rock-A-Thon generated $80,000 in donations and it is a huge source of pride for our chapter. Rock-A-Thon has created my fondest college memories and I know that this year will be an emotional one. We aim to exceed what we raised two years ago and continue the strong tradition of success. I am proud of what we have accomplished and look forward to our future philanthropic achievement.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor Joy Mayer.

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