Wichita State News

Wichita State mascot to encourage a former WuShock battling cancer

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Facebook request to WuShock, Wichita State University's mascot, will result in the mascot traveling to Denver to meet and encourage Zach Mesch, a former WSU student who performed as WuShock last year. Mesch left school and was hospitalized in Denver after being diagnosed with leukemia in November.

WuShock will try to bring a smile to Mesch's face with a visit after a benefit walk, sometime between noon and 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at The Children's Hospital, 13123 E. 16th Ave. in Aurora, Colo. Before the visit, WuShock also will attend a special fundraising event in Mesch's honor.

Mesch has been hospitalized for about 16 weeks and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. This is the second time he has battled cancer. He was diagnosed at age 16 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in his knees. After two years of chemotherapy and two years of being cancer free, Mesch was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Mesch's brother, Patrick, has offered to provide the bone marrow once Zach is well enough to undergo the operation.

Zach has been in treatment at The Children's Hospital since Thanksgiving.

After receiving a Facebook request to visit Mesch, WuShock shared the news with WSU students, faculty and staff. As a result, WuShock, several WSU students and Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, dean of enrollment services at WSU, plan to drive to Denver this week to meet with Mesch and his parents.

Prior to leaving school because of cancer, Mesch, a political science major, was active on campus. In addition to performing as WuShock at various events, Mesch was in a fraternity and served as a student senator in the WSU Student Government Association.

WuShock, one of the most unusual mascots in America, can be found roaming the stands at athletic events and making special appearances on campus and throughout Wichita. This is the first trip of its kind for the WSU mascot.

"Zach's many friends at the university know that this is a particularly difficult and challenging time for him and his family," said Wade Robinson, vice president for campus life and university relations. "The request for a visit from WuShock was something we took seriously. Shortly after Zach left school, our students held a chili feed fundraising event on his behalf. This visit is one more way we can let Zach know how much he means to us and that he continues to be in our thoughts and prayers."

A fundraiser is being held on Mesch's behalf from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 8, at West View Recreation Center, 10747 W. 108th Ave. in Denver. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with a 5K run at 10 a.m. and 3K run/walk at 10:15 a.m. Strollers and children are allowed in the 3K.

Registration is $15 for adults (16-plus) and $10 for children 3-15. A family pack of four (two adults and two children) is $45. Registration includes a raffle ticket and snacks/beverages after the run. Additional raffle tickets may be purchased at registration for $1 each.

Prizes will be given for most pledges and highest amount raised, in addition to raffle prizes.

Cash donations are welcome on race day or into any Chase Bank and deposit it to "Zach's Walk-Walk for the Care."

If you have questions, send an e-mail to ZachsWalk2010@gmail.com.

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Created on Tuesday, May 04, 2010; Last modified on Wednesday, May 05, 2010