Putting a cap on cancer with bottle caps

Francisco Castro, Contributor

Haleigh Russel, a Sophomore resident at Heritage Hall is on a mission to collect as many bottle caps as possible, all in the name of her great aunt, who is diagnosed with lung cancer. With the support of her residential leader, Kallyn Ciesynski, they began an operation to ask the Tarleton State University family to help with the collection.

For the past six months, Russel’s great aunt has been fighting lung cancer. Fortunately, a nurse who worked for the hospital told her family about how they could collect plastic bottle caps to fund the treatments.

“My family and I have been collecting the caps for about three months now,” Russel said. “We give the caps to the nurse, and they go towards the Chemotherapy treatment.”

It wasn’t until Feb. 19, that Ciesynski was told about the collection.

“One day, she was in my room and we were talking and I was drinking a water bottle and [Haleigh] was like, ‘can I have your cap?’ and I asked why and she shared her story with me,” Ciesynski explained. “And I though it would be a great program for the hall and so I created the whole bottle cap collecting and I sent a text out to my residents asking them to save caps and to bring them to my room. Along with that, I sent it out to the other RL’s in the building.”

From there, Ciesynski recalls her RL partners giving her bags of bottlecaps from their friends, who they told about the collection and how the word began to spread from there.

“Then I had some really random people e-mailing me about it, asking where they could bring the bottle caps to,” Ciesynski said.

Russel mentioned how the collection began to grow more than she initially anticipated.

It was not long until more people began to get involved, with a collection going on in almost every residence hall and members of various organizations beginning their own collection.

“It’s crazy, but its good,” Ciesynski said. “I mean, collecting 10 bottle caps isn’t that hard, but if you get 100 people to collect bottle caps, it starts to accumulate.”

“It’s pretty magical really,” Russel said. “It kind of shows how well Tarleton helps out [others in need].”

“I feel that a bunch of people really want to help, random organizations, random people and you don’t really have the opportunity to do that easily,” Ciesynski said. “So I feel that when people hear that its like, ‘oh, all I have to do is collect bottle caps, yea of course I’ll do that.”

According to Ciesynski and Russel, all bottle caps are to be dropped off at the front desk in Heritage Hall, where Ciesynski will gather them in gallon bags and Russel then takes the bags to her family who will final give to the nurse who gave them the idea of collecting the caps. “Eventually, we’re going to have so many bottle caps that she won’t need them, but hopefully we’ll be able to help others along the way,” Russel said.

For any student that is interested in beginning a collection, Russel suggest, “Any plastic cap [will do]. If you are not sure if it counts, put it in anyways.”

“Tell your best friend across the hall, tell your family,” Ciesynski said. “Think outside the box, its not just water bottle caps, its laundry detergent caps, peanut butter caps, milk jug caps, anything that’s plastic.”

For any questions, students and faculty can email Kallyn Ciesynski at [email protected]