Members of the sorority Zeta Tau Alpha and the Director of the Miami Institute for the Americas at the University of Miami, Felicia Knaul, turned the Cobb Fountain pink for the first time in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
“[Lake Osceola] is in many senses the center of a great university. The heart and soul of this great university,” Knaul said. “Water represents healing, represents calm, represents thought and I think the healing piece of this is we’ve lost many women and some men to this disease, and we have to honor and heal around that loss.”
Prior to the lighting, Knaul shared her personal journey with breast cancer. In 2003, Knaul and her family were living in Mexico City when she had her first baseline mammogram and discovered that she had cancer in her left breast. Knaul told the audience—made up of ZTA sisters, students, faculty and administrators holding pink light-up foam sticks—that when she was first diagnosed, she rejected chemotherapy treatment for months. She decided to go through with treatment after thinking about the women living in Mexico City who did not have the choice to say “yes” or “no.”
“She didn’t have a choice because either she couldn’t afford the care or she had arrived so late in the process that it wouldn’t do her any good. Or, most likely, she had no place to leave her two young children,” Knaul said.
In Mexico, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women between the ages of 35 and 50. Around the world, late detection makes breast cancer one of the leading killers of women.
The fountain lighting is one of many events that ZTA will host as part of their philanthropic efforts to spread awareness about breast cancer.
The co-chair of philanthropy for ZTA, Sara Guido, had a personal connection with the cause: her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Guido was a sophomore in high school. Guido’s mother underwent a double mastectomy, but she survived.
“It’s very hard to watching anyone you know go through a difficult experience. I’m so thankful to everyone who works on early detection because that’s what saved my mom and saves so many women like her,” she said.
ZTA’s Think Pink week officially kicks off on Monday, Oct. 12. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Shake Shack (1450 S Dixie Highway) will be donating 20 percent of their proceeds to breast cancer research. For more information on Think Pink events, visit the ZTA Facebook page.