Author: Noel Hemphill
Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) a student-run group on Occidental’s campus, is taking advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness month to jump-start their cancer awareness initiatives. From guest speakers to blood drives, CAC hopes to educate and motivate the student population even after the month of October ends.
The student organization CAC, an affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is the only cancer-specific volunteer group on campus. It is led by Eliza Campbell (senior), Emily Watkins (sophomore), and Adriel Hendrickson (junior), with help from Eleni Duret of the Office of Community Engagement.
Recently, CAC invited male breast cancer survivor Bob Kinzel to speak to students about his case. They planned used this opportunity to highlight the fact that both women and men suffer from this disease.
“As young college students, I think it can be easy for some of us to distance ourselves from cancer, thinking that it doesn’t affect us,” Campbell said. “Having a survivor speak really helped to show how important and pervasive this issue is.”
A luncheon for the Occidental faculty and staff will feature another survivor speaking about his of her personal battle with cancer, but this time the speaker will be one of their peers. CAC put special attention into planning this luncheon because they believe it will bring the reality of the disease closer to students and increase their interest in the cause.
“If we can know who of our staff are survivors, then maybe we can inspire students to become active,” Watkins said.
According to Campbell, CAC developed additional programming emphasizing education, advocacy, remembrance and fundraising. CAC and student volunteers have set up tables in the quad and Tiger Cooler with fake breasts for people to learn how to preform a breast exam. At these tables, students and staff are invited to sign their name on supportive cards for patients fighting breast cancer.
CAC also encouraged discussion of breast cancer awareness at an afternoon tea party in Sycamore Glen . A blood drive for the City of Hope, which has been heavily supported by the baseball team, occurred Oct. 23 with support from Emmons Health Center.
Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Susan Young and other members of the Office for Religious and Spiritual Life worked with CAC to organize a vigil to honor those affected by breast and other types of cancer. Students will gather for the vigil at Herrick Interfaith Center on Nov. 1.
“Even thought it’s not technically Breast Cancer Awareness Month then, we want to use it as a way to remind people that breast cancer is always there – its not just a month!” Watkins said.
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