By Alejandra Rojas
While many people might not have relatives or close ones suffering from a cancer, efforts to raise awareness regarding particular cancers have been made regionally, nationally and internationally. Organizations designate a certain day or month during the year to be dedicated to a certain cancer and those who are affected are remembered.
The month of October is nationally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This cancer is the most diagnosed in women in the United States. More than 192,370 women were diagnosed with this cancer in 2009, according to the National Cancer Institute.
During the month of October, there are various ways in which schools and organizations around the nation act in order to raise awareness in their community. Walks, sporting events and pink ribbon products are sold. People wear sponsored t-shirts, ribbons, wrist bands, and pins. New this year are the comments posted on Facebook such as, “I like it on the floor” or “I like it on the couch,” in regards to where women like to put their handbags. All these efforts are for a great cause. But, are they effective?
When I first started coming across these comments on my news feed, I wasn’t sure what they meant. Of course like any other college student, I let my mind wander. How was I supposed to know these comments, which it turns out were where women like to keep their purses, were to raise awareness about breast cancer?
According to Time magazine, this effort encourages women and men to think of breast cancer, but maybe going on about it in this way can lead to confusion, why not go with a pink ribbon? At least everyone is aware of the meaning behind that.
For more than 25 years, clothing brands, celebrities and news networks have supported this cause by “going pink.” Since pink is the color chosen to represent breast cancer awareness, pink merchandise is sold with proceeds going to clinics to help advance research and early detection. One of the largest and most successful breast cancer awareness events in the world is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which hosts the largest series of 5K runs in the world, with more than one million participants since 2005.
Similar to these efforts, there have been various sporting events on campus, which have taken place in order to help raise the same awareness to the students. During a particular game, athletes are encouraged to promote the game and announce to the whole campus to wear pink. I believe this triggers people to go out and buy some sort of pink piece of clothing. Students then come and support the team as well as the cause.
Raising awareness during sporting events is a good way to promote breast cancer as well as any other types of cancers. I’ve never had a close family member or a close friend suffer from any kind of cancer, so if these kinds of events didn’t happen, I probably wouldn’t be as aware of what was happening. But, this way allows me to realize how important it is to support someone who has suffered. It also allows everyone to get together and share a common passion for something, such as a good basketball game, supporting their school team all at the same time while supporting a good cause.
Whether posting a comment on Facebook, wearing pink, running a marathon, or attending a sporting event is important during this month, help raise awareness by simply taking the time and becoming conscious of the importance of this month.
Alejandra Rojas is senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at email@example.com.