Cancer is a disease that everyone has heard of and most likely knows a person who has battled with it. Unfortunately the costs for treatment add up quickly and can be quite expensive for those who need it the most. However one member of the OLLU faculty and staff has found a way to help provide chemotherapy in exchange for a small item that we dispose of everyday: bottle caps.
Counselor Rocio Portales and her family found out “about a hospital in Mexico that provides chemotherapy in exchange of bottle caps. I felt that this was an easy way to help patients in need of treatment.” Portales began saving bottle caps two years ago. “I got started after a family member mentioned saving the bottle caps after being told about this cause by a family friend who happens to work at the hospital that they are donated to. My family delivers the bottle caps every few months to Mexico, once there is a big enough haul to take,” she said.
Portales initially started saving bottle caps with her family before bringing the cause to her office in Counseling Services. Since then employees in the Counseling Services such as freshman work study student Brianna de León have begun collecting bottle caps in their dorm rooms. “I’ve been collecting lids since the beginning of the semester. Not everyone can afford this kind of treatment and if I can help in anyway that’s something I’m going to do,” de León said.
Since then de León has also shared this cause with her friends. Gerson Gutierrez lives in the Lake View apartments and has been saving bottle cap lids after being informed of the cause by de León. “It’s something to make you feel good that you’re contributing to this cause.”
Portales, de León and Gutierrez urge other students and faculty to get involved with this cause.
“It’s something that you can do on the fly, you don’t have to go out of your way to do it,” Gutierrez said.
“It’s such a minute thing to save bottle caps, you don’t have to go out and do hard labor. We all can do it in our everyday life and it can also make us aware of how many bottles and plastic we use. For this cause it’s a good thing if we can save the bottle caps. It’s something that we can all contribute and hopefully give lots of kids their treatments,” de León said.
“We as a community like to help our fellow community; this is a good way of giving back to people in need. Like I’ve said before, it’s easy because the cap is already sitting on top of that bottle we are using. Cancer does not respect age, quality of life or financial availability and unfortunately many people do not seek treatment due to not being able to pay the expenses. I felt it was important to contribute to this cause because it is extremely easy, my family and I are already using bottles that provide the bottle caps that are needed. If it is so easy to recycle, why not take an extra step and save the tops for children and adults that need chemotherapy treatments but can’t afford to pay? Saving that bottle cap can mean helping one person get the treatment they need to save their life,” Portales said.
Students and faculty outside the Counseling Services can get involved with this cause. Portales believes providing a drop off station in some of the most trafficked areas of the University can help with this cause.
“Save your bottle caps! If you feel more comfortable finding a cause like this in the states, do so! I recently heard about a hospital in Laredo, Texas that is doing the same but do not have contacts there. It feels good knowing that something so simple can help others in such a tremendous way,” Portales said.
Any sized lid ranging from the tops of water bottles to laundry detergent are welcomed. Bottle caps and lids may be dropped off in the Counseling Services office, Providence 101, or contact Clinical Counselor Rocio Portales at email@example.com to have them picked up.