By Briana Hayes
With fall in full swing, October brings around more than just pumpkins and thoughts of finding the best Halloween costume. October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
On Sunday, October 5, members of the Simmons community came together for the fourth year to walk in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
While waking up on a Sunday before the sun rises is never the first choice for many college students, the members of “Sharks Stride Against Breast Cancer,” gathered in front of Quadside for what they saw as a great cause.
Many women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Last month, Simmons College President Helen Drinan announced her own diagnosis and inspired Simmons students to donate, walk, and become invested in their own health and women’s health in general. By staying strong in the face of adversity, Drinan gave many a reason to support the cause and feel inspired by her overall attitude of hope and positivity.
Providing students with inspiration, the team comprised about 150 students walking to show their support for Drinan, and other people close to them who have also been diagnosed, as well as for the reminder that women’s health is intrinsic to their lives.
They walked to the start of the walk near the Hatch Shell around 8 a.m., the team gathered for pictures along the Charles River on a crisp autumn morning. While various groups of the Simmons community were represented, the team came together and proudly represented the College as a whole.
The area near the Hatch Shell was filled with different tents, contests, and free giveaways with the omnipresent and famous pink color covering everything. Survivors were positive and everyone present felt empowered by their optimism and strength.
The walk consisted of shorter and longer routes, and volunteers along the side of the pathways cheered walkers on. The volunteers clapped and cheered and continuously encouraged the walkers to keep going.
At the end of the walk, volunteers handed out coconut water and snacks, as well as countless high fives. The energy never decreased from the beginning to the end of the walk. The Sharks Stride Against Breast Cancer team raised over $600 for the American Cancer Society.
Although both men and women can be diagnosed with breast cancer, an overwhelming number of cases occur in women. A man’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is one in a thousand, while about one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer. In fact, just being a woman is the greatest risk factor for developing breast cancer.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a main focus is women’s health and the precautions a woman can take to stay healthy and know as soon as possible if something is wrong.
Taking preventative actions is in fact a point that Drinan stressed. Preventative measures such as mammograms, although considered inaccurate and painful at times, provide women with the opportunity to save their own lives.
Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer that a woman can develop—after skin cancer. Risk factors for breast cancer include gender, age, and family history. Unfortunately these are factors that an individual cannot control.
Breast cancer is an important women’s health issue, and through the strength of survivors, the support of friends and family, and the combination of women coming together to provide care for each other, it proves that although some things cannot be prevented, strength and support can inspire women and help those who need it.