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Sorority draws attention to cancer awareness

Oct. 7, 2005

by BROOKE BRANAM,reporter

There's more behind that pink ribbon than satin.

During October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sporting a pink ribbon isn't the only thing you can do to help. People all over Waco are coming together to raise awareness about breast cancer -- the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 15 and 54.

According to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, a woman dies from cancer every 13 seconds.

"Breast Cancer Awareness Month is extremely important because it can happen to anyone at any age," Gardner, Kan., junior Becky Breen said.

ACS of Waco's Relay for Life is set for all day Saturday at Baylor's Hart Patterson Track and Field Complex, located behind Floyd Casey Stadium. All students are welcome to attend, and they're offering official community service hours to Baylor sorority and fraternity students who attend.

"We encourage Baylor students to come," American Cancer Society of Waco Executive Director Jana Whitaker said.

Relay teams receive sponsorship from their businesses, or companies to raise money. With permission from the team members' business, teams who raise a certain amount can wear blue jeans to work on designated days.

Along with the relay, ACS also sponsors Tell A Friend, where friends remind each other of their mammogram appointments. Waco's ACS plans to spread the importance of regular mammograms through local television interviews. They also help uninsured women find medical offices that offer free mammograms.

"Regular mammograms are so important. Women usually remember to get checked during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and remind their friends," Whitaker said.

Zeta Tau Alpha sorority members also are sponsoring events this month to raise breast cancer awareness. Their first Strike-A-Thon is from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday and is open to all Baylor students. Teams of six pay to bowl and winners receive prizes. Proceeds will go to national breast cancer funds. To participate, e-mail Jaclyn Stewart or Beth Underwood.

"We take philanthropy seriously and that's why we enjoy fundraising for the cause," Zeta president and Overland Park, Kan., senior Kristen Gleason said.

Members will collect Yoplait lids in Save Lids to Save Lives -- raising more money for breast cancer. Boxes and posters will be set around campus to donate the lids.

"So many people are personally affected by breast cancer. That's why it's so important to make people aware of the warning signs," Gleason said.

An information table full of brochures and pamphlets on breast cancer will be set up in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Information will focus on self-examination, mammograms and basic facts about breast cancer.

"Baylor doesn't stress the importance of preventive exams that can help save lives," Breen said.

Zeta will also participate in the Race for the Cure, another ACS event in April. Jane Smith, general advisor for the Theta Omicron chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha, said the cure for breast cancer is close.

"With recovery rates so high, we can't give up," Smith said. "We have to keep raising awareness."

Baylor graduate Joy Elliot and the ACS will help to raise awareness when she speaks about her cancer survival at a forum and fashion show 9:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at Crestview Church of Christ. All participating models are cancer survivors. Anyone is welcome and donations are encouraged. The show will help raise money and increase awareness.

Along with the set events, the ACS is planning speaking engagements that will take place through the month at Waco Alternative School, church groups and businesses. Information on breast cancer will be discussed and spread throughout the community this way.

For volunteer opportunities through the ACS, contact Ann Dryer at 254-666-7161.