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Posted by on in News

RJ_20141105-144921_1.jpgIn support of RJ Tonks, a senior sports management major and marketing minor at Waynesburg University, business students held Rise Up for RJ Saturday, Nov. 1, during half time of the football game. President Douglas G. Lee, as well as members of the Waynesburg University Business Club, presented Tonks with a check for $8,000 at the game.

After the check was created, donations continued to pour in, totaling $8,322 at last count for Tonks’ treatments at the Carrick Brain Centers in Marietta, Ga. This far surpassed the club’s original goal of $6,000.

Ashley Clark, a senior marketing major and accounting minor from McDonald, Pa.; Joshua Dains, a senior business management major from Clarksville, Pa.; and Kaitlyn Marteney, a senior forensic accounting and criminal justice major from Berlin, Pa., spearheaded the fundraiser to help Tonks defray the costs of treatment.

The students integrated service with learning by using skills gained in their business classes.

“We designed, ordered, sold and distributed the shirts, as well as everything in between,” said Dains. “Our professors were great people to bounce ideas off of, and they proved to be an awesome support system.”

The funds raised will go toward treatment and travel costs for Tonks. When he was eight, Tonks developed a virus that left a scar on his brain. For many years, the scar impaired Tonks’ hand eye coordination, mobility, speech, balance and fine motor skills. As a freshman, Tonks became dependent on a wheelchair for mobility.

“We are all really good friends with RJ,” said Clark. “We had heard that he may not be able to go down for treatment this semester because it is very expensive. We know that RJ's goal is to walk unassisted at graduation this May, and we understand how important that is to him.”

The senior Business Club majors designed a shirt to sell to staff, faculty, students and community members. The front of the shirt read "Rise Up for RJ," while the back contains Tonks’ personal motto, the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11. 

In total, the club sold more than 600 shirts during the six-week fundraiser.

“It's an incredible feeling to know I have support from the entire Waynesburg University community,” said Tonks. “I was amazed at how much money was raised from the sale of the shirts. I am so thankful for my classmates in the Business Club that organized the fundraiser and everyone that bought or sold a shirt.”

The students held a “black out” at the November 1 Waynesburg versus Thomas Moore football game to sell shirts as the final fundraising push. Members of the crowd purchased and wore the black shirts in a show of support.

“We have all been greatly impacted by RJ's enthusiasm, motivation and humbling personality; we wanted to do something special for him.” Clark said. “His treatment costs $5,500 for one week. This amount does not include travel expenses like food, lodging, gas, etc. We are so happy to have surpassed our goal.”

For more information, contact cla7773@student.waynesburg.edu.

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Posted by on in Internships

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Hearing of Fellowship of Christian Athlete (FCA)’s search for another intern at their Western, Md., location, Nadine Leishman, a junior sports management major at Waynesburg University, knew she had to interview for the summer 2013 position, but the thought of leading camp activities left her on edge.

“Most people don’t know this, but I am dyslexic,” said Leishman.

Despite her fears, after receiving word of her acceptance, the Frederick, Md., native headed back to Maryland to begin her journey with FCA, an organization focused on incorporating faith into athletics.

“I was so nervous at first to read in front of people and the campers I had to lead in my huddles, but my boss, Scott Myers, was able to help me through that struggle,” said Leishman.

According to Scott Myers, FCA area director, the fears Leishman faced this summer were all a part of God’s plan for her.

“When we have a weakness, it forces us to look outside of our own abilities for strength and answers,” said Myers. “What I encouraged her to do was to embrace her weakness and don’t try to hide it.  Instead, share it with others and talk about how God is going to use this in her life.”

As a member of the Waynesburg University lacrosse team and a student previously involved with FCA athletics for the past four years, Leishman was given a chance to use her faith to make a difference in the lives of others as she worked at overcoming her battle with dyslexia.

“Nadine is an outstanding young woman with a strong faith and a passion for athletics,” said Dr. Gordon McClung, chair of the business administration department at Waynesburg University. “Her commitment to Christ and desire to help others provided an excellent foundation for her internship.”

Helping to foster her faith into what it is today, Leishman credits Waynesburg University and its mission for giving her the confidence necessary to minister to those around her during her internship.

“The mission statement at Waynesburg really helped me through this internship because I am living out my faith,” said Leishman. “But I am also seeing others grow in their faith. I was able to serve others’ needs at the camps and show campers that people care for them and want to be there to help them.”

Three days a week, Leishman served as a Student Athlete Leadership Training intern with a team of four other interns, giving her abundant opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the field.

During the day, Leishman updated rosters for camp, promoted the local Power Camp and other camps to athletes and youth, and contacted high school students and coaches about helping to serve with camp activities. Leishman also attended meetings and sat in on phone conferences with FCA staff, getting a firsthand look at the way the organization is run.

Leishman’s favorite part of her internship was being able to share her knowledge of lacrosse and her faith with the young girls who attended the FCA’s local Power Camp.

“It was the greatest experience I think I could have ever had,” said Leishman. “Getting to teach what I know about the sport of lacrosse to young girls that are willing to learn more about the sport and watching the girls grow in their faith was the best experience I could have ever had.”

Leishman did more than prove she can do anything she puts her mind to, she has proven to others that weaknesses don’t have to limit the ability to overcome fears and succeed.

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