By: Sara Goodwin
To honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, organizations both on and off the campus held events to raise money, create awareness and help women affected by breast cancer.
The University of Maryland fraternity Kappa Alpha Order (KA), held its fifth annual “Breastfest of Champions,” a banquet where ticket holders were able to eat and listen to guest speaker Cindy Carter, president and co-founder of the Cancer Support Foundation.
Although breast cancer awareness is not the fraternity’s national philanthropy, chapter president Mark Gyorfy, said this university’s chapter has done philanthropies that have affected its members and families.
Five years ago, a close family friend to a member of KA died of breast cancer. So, the fraternity decided to hold a philanthropy event not only to honor her, but to honor any member, family member or friend, that passed away from breast cancer, Gyorfy said.
This was the first year that KA partnered with Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta) for the event. Gyorfy said KA was excited to partner with them to “double our resources and try to raise more money.”
Individuals were able to donate to Breastfest through purchasing tickets, T-shirts and donating online through PayPal, Gyorfy said. All proceeds from Breastfest go to Hearts for Cancer, which donates the money to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a lab where scientists are researching breast cancer cures.
Breastfest raised $33,000 this year by Oct. 22, and they continued to take donations throughout the rest of the month.
KA and Theta also joined Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA), American Medical Women’s Association and the National Council of Negro Women to support “Think Pink Week,” a week of events that honor breast cancer survivors and victims and raise awareness around campus.
Breast cancers awareness has been ZTA’s philanthropy since they were founded on this campus in 1992, though it didn’t adopt the name “Think Pink Week” until 2004 when the sorority trademarked the term, said Claire Zahavi, the ZTA director of philanthropy at this university.
The week started off by “painting the campus pink,” meaning members of ZTA tied pink ribbons and wrote messages in pink chalk around campus.
On Oct. 14, all the organizations hosted a flower ceremony by the reflecting pool on McKeldin Mall. Students, faculty, and professors were welcome to place a pink carnation in the reflecting pool to honor someone affected by breast cancer and write the person’s name on the ground in chalk.
“It’s a nice idea, just having the flowers in the fountain. Everyone’s always here, it kind of helps raise awareness too,” said Maura Fries, a junior education and psychology major.
Tenbeete Solomon, a senior marketing major added, “I think it’s great to raise awareness especially because it’s right in the center of campus so anyone walking through here can see it.”
The organizations passed out free pink lemonade and pink ribbons around campus on Oct. 15 and 17; The events of this week did not raise any money because the organizations wanted to solely promote awareness.
“We wanted to do Think Pink Week solely based on awareness and not fundraising because we really think early detection and prevention is the best way to promote breast cancer awareness on campus,” Zahavi said.
Campus organizations are not the only groups to celebrate breast cancer awareness. Amoena, a lingerie brand released a new line called “Seduction,” which is designed for women who have been affected by breast cancer — whether they have had a mastectomy (removal of a breast) or lumpectomy (removal of a lump in a breast). The bras are designed with a built-in pocket that consumers can put a silicone implant in in order to make their breasts look the same size.
The new Seduction line provides “more fashionable, sexier, trendier, styles,” said Malissa Magyar, Amoena global head of marketing.
Magyar said the company paired with a French lingerie designer, whose name she could not disclose, to develop higher-end lingerie that a consumer might find in a high-end European line of lingerie.
Amoena products are available at hospitals, as well as Dillard’s, Nordstrom and online. Products in the Seduction line range from $65 to $80, Magyar said.