By Nicole Ferrito
Pink is the color of hope, strength and courage. It has become a symbol of breast cancer awareness and the fight to find a cure.
As Joanne Smith-Tavener, a College adjunct professor from the health and exercise science department, who spoke at Zeta Tau Alpha’s Pink Out Week on Wednesday night said, “There is a very ugly side to pink.” It is this side that represents the battle the victims of breast cancer must face. That is why the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity at the College has dedicated much of their time and effort into their philanthropy, breast cancer awareness and education, by hosting their annual Pink Out Week.
The events which began on Sunday, Oct. 1, included activities such as: $10 haircuts in the Brower Student Center, pink hair dying, a balloon release, a zumbathon, a T-shirt sale, carnival-type games and cotton candy, volleyball games, inspirational speeches and a pink-out football game. The proceeds of the week are to go to the Zeta Tau Alpha foundation and divided between various breast cancer awareness and education organizations.
“Hakuna Matata” read the popular shirts that ZTA has been selling as part of their fundraising and promotion of breast cancer awareness. Anna Poruks, a sophomore member of ZTA and biology and psychology double major, said the selling of their shirts “was really successful.” They raised over $1,000 in just one day.
The girls kicked off their week Sunday morning with the “Race for the Cure” walk at Six Flags, where they worked the survivor’s tent. Monica Watson, a sophomore elementary education and English double major and member of ZTA, recalled how touching the experience was as the girls gave away T-shirts and gift bags to survivors at the walk.
That night was their Balloon Release, where people came, bought pink, biodegradable balloons, and wrote the name of a person they knew who had battled breast cancer.
Before releasing the balloons, Leanne Puia, the ZTA Chapter Advisor spoke on behalf of her own battle with breast cancer.
Bryanna Kirner, a member of ZTA, and junior elementary education and math/science/technology major, stressed the importance of Puia’s speech. Puia was able to catch her breast cancer early and went into remission because she knew how to detect the signs.
Kirner explained Puia’s work with Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy “literally saved her life.”
“We were all choked up,” Poruks said about the emotional experience.
Last Monday, they gave out pink cupcakes and self-examination shower cards at Eickhoff. Emily Weisman, sophomore special education major, recalled how so many were appreciative of their event because many of them knew victims of the disease. Weisman continued to say she realized “how many people are affected whether indirectly or directly” by breast cancer.
On Wednesday evening, Joanne Smith-Tavener, and Matthew Wund, a professor from the biology department, spoke on behalf of their own experiences. Smith-Tavener emotionally shared the devastation she felt after being diagnosed with breast cancer and how battling it has made her a stronger woman.
Shortly after, Wund discussed the Christina S. Walsh foundation. Christina was his sister that lost her battle against breast cancer, and in memory of her he raises money for breast cancer patients and informs people of how to protect themselves from it.
Christina Rodriguez, sophomore open options science major, said reflecting upon the speech as well as the week as a whole, “seeing all the people it affects … it’s eye-opening.”
“Kiss Away Cancer” was another event held by ZTA this week, where as Kirner explained, there was a “banner we make and have in the Stud. We have lipstick samples donated and people can donate $1 to the cause in exchange for getting to put on some lipstick and kiss the white banner and write their name next to their kiss.”
They ended the week with two big football games. They first teamed up with the College football team, cheer team and dance team — all wearing pink in honor of Pink Out week. The football team donated $350 to their cause.
Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 7, they teamed up with other Zeta Tau Alpha organizations in the region, selling rally towels and car magnets to raise over $4,000 towards their breast cancer awareness and education philanthropy.