Fraternity organizes event to raise breast cancer awareness
The Syracuse University Quad was colored pink Wednesday a little after 5 p.m. as students, faculty and community members joined together to form a human pink ribbon on the steps of Hendricks Chapel in a demonstration to promote breast cancer awareness.
Co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega organized the ‘Walk, Watch and Wear’ campaign this October along with the American Cancer Society to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month both on and off the SU campus.
‘It’s a cause that all of us really support a lot obviously, so it’s a really nice thing for us to get involved in,’ said Ashley Bryan, a senior music industry major and APO’s public relations chair.
APO, led by Vice President Kristen Vescera, participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 1 and helped raise more than $315,000 with the rest of the participants.
‘We’ve done the walk for many years now,’ Bryan said. ‘That sort of kick started the month off for us.’
Members also sold pink bandanas and cards in the Schine Student Center and raised more than $300 for the American Cancer Society.
‘(Breast cancer) effects everyone in some way,’ said Vescera, a senior English and textual studies geography major. ‘It’s your mom, it’s your sister, it’s your best friend, so I thought it was just a good cause and everyone can relate to it.’
APO members worked with Alicia Kinder, director of special events at the American Cancer Society, to organize the fundraising and advocate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The fraternity has been planning since the beginning of the semester, said Jackie Herbert, a junior television, radio and film major and APO sister.
‘This is the first year that we’ve done this event on campus and we’re really hoping to get a good outreach,’ Kinder said of the student reactions to the events. ‘All the students here know how important breast health is, even at a young age.’
Kinder has worked with the university several times in the past, collaborating with other APO events such as spring’s Relay for Life.
While the month of October focuses on breast cancer awareness, it is a critical year-round circumstance. Kinder emphasized the importance of breast health for women of all ages, while specifically noting that the American Cancer Society strongly suggests the use of mammography for women 40 years and older.
‘Even if you don’t fall into that age group, chances are you have a loved one who does,’ she said.
Kinder also recognized the importance that breast cancer awareness events, such as the human ribbon or walk, have upon those who are fighting or who have survived the disease.
When survivors get together in a fundraiser walk an event like this, they can feel the strength and unity that helps them get through the devastation, she said.
Members of APO are required to complete 28 hours of community service a semester. The three principles of the fraternity are leadership, friendship and service, all of which are exemplified by their members and the activities that are organized.
‘Every member of Alpha Phi Omega is a leader in their own way,’ Bryan said. ‘We have a great group of kids.’
Other community service events include working with local Girl Scouts, Meals on Wheels and organizing events for residents of Sedgewick Heights Nursing Home.
‘It’s OK to talk about (breast cancer) now,’ Kinder said. ‘Years ago it was sort of a hush hush thing. It’s good to see we’re opening up those doors of conversation.’
To learn more about breast cancer awareness, visit the American Cancer Society’s Web site, www.cancer.org.
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