When the “Making Strides Miami-Dade Breast Cancer Awareness Walk” begins Oct. 23 at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Eboni Arnold and other Sigma Gamma Rho multicultural sorority members plan to be there helping to raise money and awareness about the disease that impacts thousands of women each year.
Arnold, a senior neuroscience major, said college students need to be more aware of breast cancer and take precautionary measures, including breast self-exams. Additionally, students should find ways to financially support research, she said.
“Funding is one of the most critical components to finding a treatment for a disease; every dollar counts,” Arnold said. “And college students have the connections and tools to increase awareness and support these foundations.”
Members from University of Miami’s ZetaTau Alpha sorority also will be participating and encouraging other students to sign up or donate to show support.
“Each year they have about 300 or so volunteers,” said junior Aliya Redd, Zeta’s vice president of philanthropy and service. Redd also said college students need to be aware of breast cancer young, so it can be caught before it is too late.
“Cancer is one of those illnesses that doesn’t discriminate,” Redd said. “You can do everything right and still get cancer.”
In observance of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” several UM sororities have held events and fundraisers to draw campus attention to the cause throughout October. Various campus organizations focus on the importance of breast cancer education, stressing that it is not too soon for college-aged women to be concerned. Statistics show that women can be diagnosed with breast cancer as young as age 15, long before they are taught to be on the lookout for breast cancer.
Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy works with the National Football League, Bright Pink, and the American Cancer Society. Although Zeta Tau runs events throughout the year to raise money for breast cancer, in October the sorority puts heavy emphasis on breast cancer awareness, including sponsoring the annual pink lighting ceremony of Cobb Fountain on Lake Osceola.
The campaign also highlights and honors survivors and fighters of the disease.
At this year’s fountain lighting ceremony junior Caitlin Breidenbruch spoke of her aunt’s ongoing battle with breast cancer. She said her aunt was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in May and is undergoing two different kinds of chemotherapy and is scheduled for a mastectomy.
“When you realize that cancer is like real and is there and affecting someone you love, you kind of get this different outlook on life,” Breidenbruch said.
The best way for students to celebrate the month, Breidenbruch said, is to contribute to the fundraisers they see around campus and learn more about the disease and how it can affect their lives or loved ones.
“Make pink just a color again,” Breidenbruch said.