MU fraternity seeks to raise $150,000 across Columbia to fight cancer

The Alpha Epsilon Pi  fraternity at Mizzou will hold its annual Rock-a-Thon for charity on April 23-25 in Columbia. The designated ‘rocker’ will man a rocking chair for 63 hours straight, raising funds this year for the American Cancer Society.

There are a dance-a-thons, races and relays that raise money for the fight against cancer across the country. And since 1969, every two years, there’s been one university student in Columbia, Missouri sitting in a rocking chair on a stage in downtown Columbia for 63 hours. He doesn’t move to eat, sleep or even answer the call of nature and it’s all in the name of fighting cancer. He’s the Alpha Epsilon Pi rocker and the symbol of Rock-A-Thon, the philanthropy of the men of the Mu Deuteron chapter at the University of Missouri. The overwhelming majority of AEPi members at Mizzou are Jewish.

This year the rocker is Jason Hoffman, a senior broadcast journalism student from Great Neck, New York, who was elected by his peers to rock from 7 a.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Saturday (April 23-25). So while he rocks for the weekend on a stage at the northwest corner of Ninth and Broadway in downtown Columbia, his frat brothers and other volunteers will canvass throughout the state to solicit donations. All proceeds of the fundraiser benefit the American Cancer Society for the purpose of cancer research. This year, Rock-A-Thon is highlighting skin cancer research and the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, in particular. 

As of press time, Josh Aroesty, senior publicity chair of the 2015 Rock-a-Thon, said details of where volunteers would be stationed in St. Louis were still being worked out as, but he anticipated them to be at area Wal-Marts, Ballpark Village and Dierbergs.

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Aroesty also said that rocker Hoffman has been on a liquid diet to gear up for the 63-hour challenge, noting that he cannot leave the stage (his fraternity brothers have a plan for when he needs to use the facilities that won’t cause him, or any one else, embarrassment, said Aroesty). When he sleeps, frat brothers will push his chair for him.

In 2013, Rock-A-Thon raised $123,000 for lung cancer research, setting a record as the largest single-chapter fraternity and sorority philanthropy in North America. 

For more information about the Rock-a-Thon, visit aepirockathon.com.