UI Colleges Against Cancer raises funds for breast cancer with Pink Week

By Shaun Kuriakose

For Megha Mathur, junior in AHS, joining Colleges Against Cancer was a decision already determined in high school.

Mathur initially became active with Relay For Life, an all-night effort from the American Cancer Society, as a freshman in high school. Mathur, however, didn’t go without a purpose. Weeks earlier, her friend’s mother passed away from cancer.

As a sophomore in college, Mathur joined Colleges Against Cancer. Now, she serves as the organization’s director of advocacy, where she is heading into one of the organization’s prime fundraising efforts — Pink Week.

Pink Week is an event that raises breast cancer awareness by educating students about the disease. Throughout the week, the group honors Breast Cancer Awareness month by selling shirts with different breast cancer themed logos. Funds raised through these shirts will ultimately go to the American Cancer Society.

The organization will also sell baked goods and distribute flyers to passers-by on the Quad. The group will be at Anniversary Plaza each day this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.RB

“We are more than happy to educate (students),” said Kayla McCraren, senior in FAA and president of Colleges Against Cancer. “Cancer can be kind of a scary thing. We want people to know it’s okay and how to convince people, whether it’s a mother, sister or friend, to get a mammogram.”

Colleges Against Cancer was created in 2000, making it the first chapter for the American Cancer Society’s college outreach program.RB According to the American Cancer Society’s website, Colleges Against Cancer is a nationwide effort from college communities that work toward raising funds for the organization with the American Cancer Society.

“We have already had people messaging us asking what the T-shirts are going to look like this year,” said Grace Erickson, vice president of the University’s Colleges Against Cancer and junior in LAS.

But T-shirts are not the only thing at the event. There will be fliers and members of Colleges Against Cancer to educate students about the disease.

“We’re going to try to get people to not just buy shirts from us, but to stop by and get that cancer education,” Erickson said.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women in the U.S., according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.RB The Foundation reported that it’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, and that on an annual basis, nearly 40,000 women will die because of it.RB

Pink Week isn’t the only event hosted by Colleges Against Cancer. The organization also works with the American Cancer Society to host the University’s annual Relay For Life event in the spring.RB The 2014 event had over 1,000 participants who worked together to raise over $100,000, all of which went to the American Cancer Society, said Erickson.

For McCraren, the events sponsored by her organization remind her of the reason why she joined Colleges Against Cancer.

“I have many family members who are cancer survivors,” McCraren said. “I was a freshman (when I got involved). Now, I’m president, and this year is going to be great. We’re happy to advocate for ACS and educate people on campus.”

[email protected]