Bracelet sale raises cancer awareness

As Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) showed in a fundraiser for breast cancer research, charity and fashion literally go hand-in-hand. The sorority sold pink rubber bracelets imprinted with the slogan “BULLISH ON FINDING A CURE” across campus in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

ZTA sold over 2,000 bracelets, which at $1 apiece raised over $2,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. These bracelets, similar to the yellow “LIVESTRONG” ones for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which also raises money for cancer research, have clearly started a new trend.

The Plainsboro branch of the investment company Merrill Lynch came up with the idea for the bracelets and partnered with the Princeton Breast Cancer Research Center, according to Lt. Col. (Ret.) Matthew McCarville, the former ROTC director at the College.

McCarville, who now works for Merrill Lynch, provided the bracelets to the sorority, whose philanthropy is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The message imprinted on the bracelets is a spin-off on the company’s slogan “bullish for America.” The word bullish signifies a sense of optimism, one which the company wanted to apply to the search for a cure for cancer.

“We sold every last one of them and would have sold even more if Merrill Lynch hadn’t actually run out of them,” Christie Papanikolaw, junior English and secondary education major and ZTA sister, said, referring to how the supply of the bracelets couldn’t match the popular demand.

Tory Richter, a junior nursing major who helped organize the fundraiser for the sorority, accounted for the high-sales to the recent attention breast cancer research has gotten from the media.

“Breast cancer is a huge thing right now, supporting this particular cause is extremely popular,” she said. “It’s all over the place – on cereals, yogurt and makeup. On top of all that, who doesn’t love pink? At the very least, its a fashion statement.”

McCarville said that he became involved in the fundraiser partly for personal reasons because his wife is a breast cancer survivor.

“The reason I got excited about this effort was had it not been for the people who before had raised money (for breast cancer research), my wife would be in a life-threatening situation right now,” he said. “But as a result of their effort, she is going to be fine.”

McCarville added that Merrill Lynch bought over 50,000 bracelets, with the goal of raising $50,000, and also sold them at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton on Oct. 17.

Selling the bracelets on campus before then thus not only raised awareness of the need for breast cancer research, but also advertised the walk, which was where people could purchase more bracelets. Since there was a registration fee to participate in the walk, even more money was raised for the foundation.

“Every time I see someone sporting a pink bracelet, I am very proud to have been a part of an organization that tries so hard to raise awareness for breast cancer, a disease that is among the top killers of women,” Papanikolaw said.

Jen King, senior graphic design major, is equally proud to wear her pink bracelet. “As a daughter of a survivor, I feel very strongly about raising awareness about the cause,” she said. “By wearing the pink bracelet, it is a simple way to show support for the fight against breast cancer.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 13.4 percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives.

While ZTA is no longer selling the bracelets, students interested in buying one can find similar bracelets at retailers such as Target and New Balance.