Campus groups organize events for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

While some students may be unaware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, student groups on campus are getting involved to promote awareness.

One of these groups is Special Populations Health Education Program, an organization based out of the McKinley Health Center, which has many activities planned this month which will educate students about breast cancer and raise money to continue searching for a cure.

The group is committed to taking care of students and has organized other events over the years to promote healthy lifestyles, said Jerry Ogbudimkpa, director of health education at McKinley.

“Cancer affects everybody, so what we are doing here is to do all we can to make the campus and even the community aware and educate people about it,” Ogbudimkpa said.

Markisha Foster, graduate assistant in the Special Populations program, said several events will be happening throughout the month to promote awareness on the campus and in the Champaign-Urbana community.

The main effort is the Human Resource Center information outreach, in which Special Populations will be attaching pamphlets detailing risk factors and preventative tips to the outside of cold care packs as well as placing a self-examination guide inside the packs. Students can pick these up at the Illini Union or the McKinley Health Center from Oct. 17 to Oct. 28.

Another event is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which will be happening on the Quad on Oct. 23. Pink lemonade or hot chocolate, depending on the weather, will be for sale and pink ribbons and informational pamphlets will be distributed.

The Cultural House Collaboration, running from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28, will display posters in each of the cultural houses with statistics, symptoms, prevention tips, self-examination steps and health disparity risks that are specific to each of the different cultures.

Ashley Hughes, graduate student and member of Special Populations, talked about how they will be reaching out to the community this month. They will be going to the Market on the Square in Urbana on Oct. 15 and handing out pamphlets and pink ribbons and selling pink postcards. The money raised will also go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Some students may wonder how breast cancer relates to them, but Ogbudimkpa said, “Anytime anybody is dealing with any health issue, you are going to be affected by that indirectly or directly; it is very common in our society.”

This is a good campaign for everybody and it informs students for the future so they can prevent it from happening, Ogbudimkpa said. Women and men both can get breast cancer so everyone is going to be able to relate to it, he added.

As breast cancer awareness continues to grow, it is becoming more important to educate college students, said Gale Young, Mission Director for the Peoria office of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Young said younger women are developing breast cancer in their 20s and 30s, so it is important to start developing good habits early on and being diligent about screenings. College students who are educated will share information with their mothers and grandmothers and make more of an impact, she said.

“For a lot of them it is personal because they may have mothers that are suffering from breast cancer,” Foster said. “It is good to know more about it and raise more awareness so that you can raise money and look to finding the cure.”