Students think pink to fight breast cancer

The College’s first Breast Cancer Awareness Walk took place on Saturday as part of the campus’ Community Fest. Over 60 walkers gathered outside of Brower Student Center to participate in the community effort. Organized by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Lambda Tau Omega Multicultural Sorority and Rider University students, the event raised over $500, all of which was donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The walkers gathered at 10 a.m. to “follow the ribbon” to Rider University. At Rider, guest speaker Victoria Jones and Susan G. Komen Foundation spokeswoman Monica Smith addressed the crowd. For most students, the walk provided a way to support breast cancer research while contributing to a community effort.

Kamaria Byrd, senior English major and president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, couldn’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want to help the cause. “It affects everyone,” she said, accurately describing the disease that one woman is diagnosed with every two minutes in the United States. Many walkers who participated have a friend or family member who has been affected.

The walk was organized “to show people support,” Sonya Spann, senior English major and vice president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, said.

Caitlin Fair, sophomore English major and vice president of Lambda Tau Omega, credited Rider University students for being “so passionate” in coming up with the idea.

The students felt taking an active role in showing their support, independent from a major corporation, would hold a greater impact. “I wanted to do something for the community,” Taniya Hood, junior secondary education major at Rider University, said.

The walkers made a difference, raising over $500, along with donations which will continue to be received throughout October. The students are also planning another Breast Cancer Awareness event later in October to provide information to students on mammograms and other preventative measures women can take. The student organizers hope to make the breast cancer awareness walk an annual event. For every type of cancer, early detection and awareness provide the key to survival. It is through awareness that a cure may finally be discovered.

In the past, mammograms were rare and detection often occurred too late to provide options that could produce remission. In the 1980s, breast cancer diagnosis rates increased due to more women being tested. In recent years, cancer rates have been decreasing while survival rates are increasing. Early detection truly does mean the difference between life and death; the National Breast Cancer Foundation places the five-year survival rate at 96 percent when the cancer is diagnosed early.

Breast cancer affects people of every ethnicity, class and even gender; for every 100 women diagnosed, one man is diagnosed with breast cancer. A new push to make mammograms readily available to poor women is being driven by, made more popular by the Facebook group “Tell 10 to Tell 10,” in order to allow women of all economic statuses the chance for early detection. But without awareness, the greatest medical care will be of little use.

Cancer does not just affect the patient. Early detection of cancer greatly increases one’s chances of survival. Knowing their own risk can help people to determine what action to take. Women with a family history of breast cancer should have yearly mammograms.