Beech Party: Students engineer event to support cancer research

Christian Marnon

WKU Night at Beech Bend Park on Saturday was started as a way to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of two WKU engineering students battling cancer.

Last week, another engineering student was diagnosed, making the event even more crucial, Reed Gonzalez, a manager at Beech Bend and WKU mechanical engineering graduate who organized the event, said.

“It’s strange, and also sad because none of us expected it,” Gonzalez said about the sudden news.

Gonzalez said the department is a tight-knit group, and he knows all three students, or former students, battling cancer.

“The first friend was an RA in Minton who graduated in May in mechanical engineering,” he said. “He was married in June and got diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma about three or four weeks ago. He’s at the treatment stage where bills keep coming in, so we’re reaching out to help.”

The other student battling cancer is a current senior and civil engineering major who was diagnosed with Stage III brain cancer last spring, Gonzalez said.

“His recovery process has been much longer, but he’s doing a lot better,” he said. “Several engineering students built a concrete canoe for him and wrote ‘courageous’ on it as a sign of gratitude.”

Gonzalez said the third friend battling cancer is a WKU graduate and international student who is currently studying at the University of Kentucky. She has melanoma in multiple areas.

“She was a member of Tau Beta Pi and someone we know very well,” Gonzalez said. “She’s extremely nice and lively — definitely not a person you would expect to get cancer. It hits everybody at