By Kayla Evans
For the Opelika Observer

Auburn University celebrated its sixth annual Tiger Giving Day on Feb. 24, 2021. On that day, 40 different organizations and causes were represented with 7,494 donors raising a total of $1,075,923. Every organization reached its goal.

The Auburn Family can give to unique, campus-wide organizations with some projects returning from previous years.

One of the projects, started by Dr. Nancy Merner, was to raise money to fight against breast cancer. The money given to the project supported the Gene Machine in Auburn.

Its goal was to raise $10,000, but with 217 donors, it was able to raise $14,909.

The Gene Machine brings research-based genetic testing to communities all across the state. It has partnered with local organizations and breast cancer support groups who help educate survivors and their families. Team members drive a 15-passenger, bright pink shuttle bus around the state for community events, appointments and education sessions.

Because of the pandemic, the Gene Machine is not able to travel to individuals for study enrollment or attend community events. This has forced it to change its options and modify its protocol to virtually connect with the community. It now offers virtual study enrollments and online cancer genetics education seminars. This will allow the team to stay connected with the community while protecting vulnerable cancer survivors from unnecessary face-to-face contact.

The donations will help with the cost of virtual enrollment kits, help the Gene Machine with the research of what genes cause breast cancer and provide better options for women at risk.

It is working to keep more wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends from falling victim to breast cancer.

Even though Tiger Giving Day has passed, you can still donate at

Another one of the projects, started by Dr. Scott Ketring, is the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program asking for support to bring healthy development resources to Alabama Youth.

Its goal was to raise enough money to expand play therapy to children and youth. With a set goal of $8,500, they had 181 donors give a total of $10,490.

Each donation will help expand MFT’s internship program to serve underprivileged youth, provide toys and materials for play therapy and support group therapy services to improve the well-being of Alabama families at I Am My Brother’s Keeper (IAMBK).

IAMBK’s mission is to provide services that enable at-risk families and disadvantaged youth to become self-supportive and thrive in their communities and schools. In 2019, the MFT program started to collaborate with the IAMBK program.

Through Tiger Giving Day, IAMBK will have the resources it needs to create a playroom that is fully functional to support play therapy. It will also help the Auburn MFT assistantship program, which allows next-generation therapists to gain experience and improve the well-being of Tuskegee’s youth. For more information on the IAMBK program, visit

For more information about Tiger Giving Day and to look at the other programs involved, visit