October: A month of awareness

Nicole Johnson, Staff Writer

October is a month of awareness for a lot of topics: Rett Syndrome, fair trade, pregnancy and infant loss, to name a few. However, there are two that are hitting close to campus: breast cancer and domestic violence awareness.

Both breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness are very important topics to focus on as they affect many Americans each day.

According to Susan G. Komen’s website, 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are estimated to be found in women in 2013, and there will be 39,620 deaths related to breast cancer in women. For men, the statistics are lower, but they are still significant. In 2013 there are expected to be 2,240 cases of invasive breast cancer for men, and 410 men will die from breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen is a global organization that works to raise money and awareness for breast cancer and breast cancer research through various events such as the Komen Race for the Cure. Since 1982, they have made great strides in funding breast cancer prevention research and have helped create more survivors of breast cancer.

Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., Iota Delta Chapter will be hosting their sixth annual Pink Party to raise money for Come Together Let’s Walk, a local philanthropy that supports awareness for breast, cervical and ovarian cancer. The event will be on Oct. 26 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in LRTUC. Cost will be $3 for presale tickets for students, $5 for students and faculty at the door and $7 for the Decatur community.

Kiara Colon, a vocal performance major, is one of the people helping to put Pink Party together this year.

“We have silent auctions where people can bid on items, which can range from gift cards to, last year, we had a big glass bowl that sold for $50,” Colon said. “There are usually speakers at this event; usually the speakers have some experience with breast cancer awareness. There will also be musical performances.”

Last year, about $300 was raised for Come Together Let’s Walk. The goal this year? “About $450,” Colon said.

Alicia Kelly, an alumna of Millikin and of Sigma Lambda Gamma, was one of the original members who put Pink Party together. When asked why she wanted to start this tradition, Kelly said, “We decided to host this event because we wanted to come up with a fun way to celebrate and raise awareness of this disease that has impacted so many of our loved ones as well as the Millikin community.

“Additionally, we wanted to educate our fellow peers on statistics and testing tips because we all know knowledge is power, especially when it comes to early detection. We have continued to host this annual event to honor the men and women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, promote awareness and celebrate those who have or are overcoming this disease through an evening filled with music, dinner, silent auctions and inspirational stories,” Kelly said.

In addition to this event being held in honor of breast cancer awareness, there is another event happening this month that will be more hands-on in breast cancer prevention.

Human Resources will be holding mammograms on Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in RTUC in the President’s Dining Room. These mammograms will be open to employees, administration, contracted employees and spouses of Millikin employees. Gwen Davis from Human Resources said, “We work with Decatur Memorial Hospital: their mobile mammography unit is who comes.”

The mammograms are specifically set up during October as it is breast cancer awareness month, and this is an annual event. Diane Lane, also from Human Resources, said that this has been happening for over ten years. The attendance for this year is expected to be higher than last year. Lane said that in the last couple of years these mammograms have helped some employees find breast cancer early and start to take the preventative measures towards fighting it. “Which is even more of a reason to continue doing it,” Lane said.

Prevention is one of the best steps in fighting breast cancer. “Early detection is the breast protection,” Davis said.

“And sometimes when the numbers start going down, we think about stopping it,” Lane said. “But when talking with DMH, we decided that if one person catches something early, then it’s worth doing it.”

Take steps to check yourself for lumps, tenderness of the breast, swelling or other such warning signs, and if you’re over 40, get a mammogram. These are some of the best steps to help prevent breast cancer or at least catch it early.

Aside from breast cancer awareness, domestic violence awareness is also being recognized by another sorority on campus. Alpha Chi Omega, Upsilon Chapter has painted the campus purple, tying purple ribbons on lampposts, benches, trees and other such similar objects. Small purple ribbons are also sitting in a wicker bowl in the cafeteria, free for people to pick up and wear in remembrance of domestic violence.

According to thehotline.org, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than one in three women and more than one in four men have experienced stalking, physical violence and/or rape by an intimate partner. About one in seven men and one in four women will also experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner sometime during their life.

Domestic violence is not a female-only stereotype; men can just as easily experience domestic violence, and that is a fact that is often overlooked. While females do have a higher rate of being abused, men still have a significant statistic of being abused as well.

To help raise money for domestic violence awareness, which was donated to the Dove Shelter in Decatur, Alpha Chi Omega also hosted their annual event on Oct. 13, Alpha Chis and Pies. The cost was $3 a plate and $5 for unlimited, and it was essentially a dessert buffet with various goodies such as pies, cupcakes and cookies.

Jenise Galloway, a psychology major with a music minor, said that the money was going to the Dove Shelter.

“Our national philanthropy is the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, which supports victims of domestic violence,” Galloway said, “but the reason we give to the Dove Shelter is because we actually have one in town, so we can do hands-on work and help. We’re helping on a national scale as well as a local scale.”

“Last year, we raised I think over $800, so I guess our goal this year is to raise $1,000. That’s a good goal to set,” Galloway said.

Awareness is very important on Millikin’s campus, and these two sororities, in addition to the Human Resources department of Millikin, are showing their knowledge of this month’s awareness topics: breast cancer and domestic violence.