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K-State Today

May 20, 2021

National Strategic Selling Institute raises $10,000 for Coming Together for a Cure

Submitted by Dana Parker

The National Strategic Selling Institute hosted its ninth annual NSSI Benefit Auction on May 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan.

Students in the Advanced Selling Class raised $10,000 for Coming Together for a Cure, Wichita, which was the selected charity partner for the auction. All donations, including the raffle sales for a K-State-themed golf cart, directly support the mission of Coming Together for a Cure, which is education for adult stem cell therapy and helping fund treatments for people with Muscular Dystrophy.

Coming Together for a Cure is a nonprofit organization started by two recent K-State graduates, siblings Lauren and Blake Benton. Their brother, Ryan, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease that becomes fatal in late teens to early 20s and impacts more than 30,000 boys in the U.S. When Ryan was 22, he was given a chance to participate in a research study using adult stem cells. The treatments worked, allowing him to grow muscle for the first time and reversing the progression of his disease. This feat made Ryan the first person in the world with his disease to be successfully treated with adult stem cells.

The team of siblings wanted more people with terminal diseases to be given the same opportunity as Ryan. By producing educational campaigns and hosting fundraising events, Coming Together for a Cure helps raise awareness that adult stem cell therapy is a viable option to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and other terminal diseases. Since 2013, the organization has been a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has connected multiple people to treatments while raising more than $250,000 for continued therapies.

"We are so grateful to have the continued support from this generous and amazing organization," said Blake Benton, founder and director of Coming Together for a Cure.

The winner of the K-State-themed golf cart was Cassie Pawlowski, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pawlowski is a K-State alumna who earned a certificate in professional strategic selling and graduated in 2018. She also served as a teaching assistant for the sixth annual NSSI Benefit Auction.

"As a former student and teaching assistant for the annual NSSI Benefit Auction, I know how important it is to have alumni support," Pawlowski said. "I am hoping that by supporting a student every year, I will encourage those students to give back when they are alumni. Being part of this program at K-State was an unforgettable experience. I truly am a better salesperson in my professional career because of the training and education I received."

To help underwrite the cost of the golf cart, students asked for financial support from companies to allow more money to be given back to the charity partner. Sponsors for the golf cart were Elite Concrete, Stifel and Mike Weinberg.

The National Strategic Selling Institute is housed in the College of Business Administration, which has been named one of the top sales programs in the country for nine straight years by the Sales Education Foundation. In fall 2018, Kansas State became just the 19th university in the U.S. to offer a major in sales. Students can also earn a certificate in professional strategic selling, which is open to all majors at the university. The professional strategic selling program introduces students to the fundamentals of sales and through its innovative curriculum and sales labs, allows students to develop the skills needed to be successful.

For more information on the National Strategic Selling Institute, please contact kstatesalesprogram@k-state.edu