October is the month of hope. Whether it’s by NFL players donning pink towels and gloves, teenagers purchasing the pink Lokai bracelets, or families participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the cure, people across the nation and around the world unite to spread awareness about breast cancer. But the movement to stop this life-altering disease is not as far away as we think, as Saint Ursula Academy supports the very cause here on East McMillan Street.
On September 30, Emery Shiffert ’18 and Katie Ries ’17 organized a one-day Think Pink fundraiser in which they sold ribbons and headbands for $1, and Karen Wellington logo items for $5 to raise money for those living with breast cancer. This fundraiser was part of an assignment, The Passion Project, for Ms. Porter’s Contemporary Issues in Women’s Health class, which enables the students to virtually do anything they are interested in regarding women’s health.
So Emery and Katie, old field hockey teammates of Angeline Wellington, decided to organize a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. Emery, whose grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, details how the girls took on this big responsibility by “contact[ing] the Karen Wellington Foundation which donated merchandise to sell and, [with their classmates,] made headbands and ribbons to sell.” She and Katie, whose mother is likewise a survivor, then “put together a PowerPoint about those in the SUA community affected to show in Keller [during the fundraiser],” thus showing the proximity of this disease’s impact.
The fundraiser was a huge success, raising a total of $750 for women in the SUA community. But the fundraiser did not only benefit those suffering with cancer, but also the students’ understanding of breast cancer here at school. Emery commented that through this project, she learned how prevalent breast cancer is in our community and that “SUA is so supportive and really comes together to support a great cause. We actually sold every single thing in just 50 minutes, and presented the check to Angeline at our game the following week.”
In addition to the fundraiser, SUA students wore pink shirts and sweatshirts to show their support and signed the names of women battling this disease on a pink-ribbon banner made by Caroline Wells ’18 and Lydia Hill ’18, a banner which now hangs in Keller.
Saint Ursula Academy Student Council also made sure to express the importance of combating breast cancer. The Wellness Committee designed a bulletin board by the East West Conference rooms that includes statistics about breast cancer in the US, information on breast self-exams, ways teenagers can get involved in the cause, and information on Locks of Love. Anya DiFalco ’18, a junior on the Wellness Committee, shares that the “Wellness Committee finds it important to educate the students at SUA about breast cancer because it is the most common cancer in women. It is important that we know how to check ourselves [for signs of cancer] and what to do if we find an issue.”
Across the world and at our school, breast cancer plays a critical role that radically changes people’s lives whether directly or not. With breast cancer being the most common cancer in women, spreading awareness is critical, especially at an all-girls’ school like SUA. It is important to do whatever possible, no matter big or small, like organizing a fundraiser or simply spreading information, to try to put an end to this pernicious disease.