Students Help Cancer Victims with Pop-Up Shop and Baseball Fundraisers

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Fashion merchandising and management freshman Laura Vaccaro displays her “Just Beachy” cover-ups.

Philadelphia University fashion students raised $2,725 at this week’s pop-up shop to help families of cancer patients, and the baseball team raised more than $400 to aid a 14-year-old cancer patient.

The April 29 pop-up shop was the collaborative effort of some 140 fashion merchandising and management students, who designed, produced and marketed the handcrafted fashion accessories, including scarves, beach cover-ups, yoga mat bags, crop tops, sunglass cases, decorative pillows and more, all with a top price of $25.

The proceeds from the one-day sale were donated to ChemoClothes, a non-profit group based in Marlton, N.J., that provides financial support to the families of cancer patients. Jared Levy started the organization in memory of his mother, Deb Levy, who passed away in 2008.

Some student groups, such as the creators of “Daisy Dresses,” incorporated Deb Levy’s love for nature and the beach into their designs. “We know that she really enjoyed gardening, so the floral design in the ties was a tribute to her,” said freshman Stacia Simons.

Marco Ricchiuti, a freshman marketing student, stopped by the pop-up shop to look for a Mother’s Day gift. “Everything is very creative and out-of-the-box,” Ricchiuti said of the merchandise.

The project immerses students in the fashion industry by requiring them to complete every stage of production, from market research to prototyping to pricing. “I’m so proud of them,” said Nioka Wyatt, assistant professor of fashion merchandising and management. “It’s difficult for students to grasp the concept of understanding the whole value chain, but they have done a remarkable job.”

The project was sponsored by Cotton Inc., a North Carolina-based research and marketing company, which paid for the cost of materials.

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Mason Kosmoski (front and center) is surrounded by members of the Philadelphia University Rams baseball team.

PhilaU’s baseball team also supported a worthy cause last week, raising more than $400 at the home game against Nyack on April 26 to support 14-year-old cancer patient Mason Kosmoski’s dream of watching Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee stadium. Working with Team Impact, an organization that improves the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses by matching them with college athletic teams, the PhilaU baseball team has made Mason an honorary teammate.

Two baseball team members, John Sczepanski and Chris Pelaez, organized the fundraiser for their law and society capstone project.

Pelaez said he and Sczepanski wanted to give Mason the opportunity to make a memory he will never forget. “With everything he’s going through on a daily basis, a trip like this would be an amazing way to take his mind off it and let him be just a kid for a couple of days,” Pelaez said. “The generosity of the PhilaU community has been overwhelming and helped us near our goal of sending Mason to Yankee stadium.”

“Cancer, unfortunately, has been no stranger to my family, so I know how difficult the treatment process can be,” Sczepanski added. “I am grateful to have an opportunity to positively impact someone’s life.”

Read the CBSPhilly/KYW Newsradio story on the baseball fundraiser here.

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