The reality of those combating cancer—past, present and future—sparks an emotionally reaction in most. For some it also sparks a passion for action.
The impact became all too real for Amanda Shea when a friend’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Drawing on the pain, the junior psychology major found herself connected with others who had faced similar experiences and were doing something about it. “I just wanted to be a part of something to better the world,” she said. “When one of my friend’s mom became diagnosed with breast cancer I became even more driven to join the cause.”
Angie Chan, Trisha Yow and Betsy Norton, all senior nursing majors, worked with Shea to coordinate bake sales to sponsor Union College’s team for the Making Strides: A Walk for the Cure on Sunday, Oct. 23. They also solicited gift certificates from local businesses to give away at the bake sale. Mary Jean Horst, Larson Lifestyle Center Office Manager, and Rick Spaulding, Director of Larson Lifestyle Center and Athletics also played an integral part in the efforts.
Clad in pink, cancer survivors and those who lost a loved one made the of the Making Strides: A Walk for the Cure showed the power of unity. The 5K walk around Holmes Lake included cancer survivors and those who had lost a love one to cancer. According to local news reports, thousands from the Lincoln community participated. In total, Union College raised $586, double the amount raised last year. The event in total raised $101,622.45.
“I was touched when I saw a team walking for a second time survivor,” said Norton. “Can you imagine the spirit it must take to fight and survive breast cancer twice?”
According to breast cancer awareness organization Breastcancer.org, one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Recently, KOLN television in Lincoln reported that this year in Nebraska, nearly 1,200 women will be diagnosed—and 200 of those women are likely to lose the battle. Many organizations across the United States and the world now work to bringing awareness to the importance of risk reduction and raise money for research.
“Early detection and treatment can help prevent death,” Yow explained. Breast self-exams and visiting the doctor if something seems abnormal are good ways to detect malignant tumors early. Staying physically active, limiting alcohol and being aware of genetic factors all play a role in reducing the risk. Certain environmental pollutants are also emerging in research as having a possible correlation.
While research and awareness molds public views of cancer, the sentiment and sorrow caused by it remains at the core. The reasons for getting involved in a cause vary, but the overall goal is the same—change.
“We did not start the fundraiser because of a class,” Chan said. “We thought this is an amazing chance for us (college students) to make a difference for those in need. Especially since it might impact us, as women, in the future.”