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Student events to increase breast cancer awareness

Pink+Week+is+dedicated+to+breast+cancer+awareness.+Colleges+Against+Cancer+is+hosting+fundraising+events+during+the+week+as+part+of+its+plans+for+Breast+Cancer+Awareness+Month.+
Pink Week is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Colleges Against Cancer is hosting fundraising events during the week as part of its plans for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Pink Week is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Colleges Against Cancer is hosting fundraising events during the week as part of its plans for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Photo courtesy of Colleges Against Cancer

Photo courtesy of Colleges Against Cancer

Pink Week is dedicated to breast cancer awareness. Colleges Against Cancer is hosting fundraising events during the week as part of its plans for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

By Julie Kang, Contributing Writer

University students are working to make a difference in the lives of others by spreading awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Colleges Against Cancer at the University is hosting events and fundraisers for students to participate in throughout the month. Jake Feiger, junior in Engineering and president of CAC, said the goal of the month is to spread awareness about breast cancer.

“It is also used to communicate what actions people can take to prevent breast cancer and how they can catch its development early,” Feiger said.

Pink Week, from Oct. 15 to 19, is dedicated to breast cancer awareness, and CAC raise funds by selling T-shirts. This year, the club is also selling cookies in hopes of raising even more money.

Feiger encourages people to stop by CAC’s table on the Quad during Pink Week to sign up for Relay for Life, a fundraising event hosted by the American Cancer Society, in April. He said learning more about cancer prevention and having conversations about it is also a good way to spread awareness.

“We encourage students to talk to their mothers and other women in their lives about getting screened for breast cancer, as catching the disease early greatly improves odds of survival,” Feiger said.

Stephanie Harpst, breast cancer survivor from Urbana, took part in Relay for Life for many years. Harpst is also an advocate for woman getting mammograms before 40 years old.

When she received her mammogram screening in 2005 at 40 years old, she was clear. Within the year, however, she started having menstrual issues. After putting off an appointment to her doctor, she went in for her physical exam. During the exam, her doctor found a lump Harpst had not noticed.

“It was within a year that this had come up,” Harpst said. “This is another good reason why you need to go to your physician; you can’t always find this all by yourself.”

Harpst also said she thinks it’s important for people to be their own advocates, do their own research and decide what they want to do for themselves. She chose to have a double mastectomy, surgery removing both breasts, even though surgeons did not think it was necessary.

“There’s not always that power or confidence for younger women though. Everybody thinks the doctors are always right,” Harpst said.

Jina Han, sophomore in LAS, bought a Pink Week shirt last year. Although she was not a member of CAC, she had heard about the week and CAC’s table on the Quad.

“I knew the money would be going to a good cause and I could get a nice shirt,” Han said. “It was a win-win situation.”

Harpst hopes students will be proactive by participating in events during the month and even throughout the year. She also wants people to understand that men can get breast cancer too and they should keep that in mind.

Students can get involved by putting care packages together for patients in infusion rooms where treatment is received, or students can also offer rides to cancer patients who do not have transportation to treatment. Harpst said these can be easily done by calling clinics and hospitals and asking what they need.

“Treatments can have really horrible side effects,” Harpst said. “Little things like this can make a big difference.”

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