Breast cancer awareness month culminates with candlelight vigil

Daisy Ayllon

Villanova Students Against Breast Cancer and members of Kappa Kappa Gamma held a candlelight vigil on Oct. 22 to commemorate the 192,370 women who, according to the National Cancer Institute, will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

October is Cancer Awareness Month. In an effort to raise consciousness on campus, VSABC joined Kappa Kappa Gama this year to honor and support those who have been affected by the disease.

“We gather here tonight to honor the lives of individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have survived, those who are still fighting and those we have lost,” said Philanthropy Chair of Kappa Kappa Gamma Katie Talamo. “We hope tonight encourages everyone attending to continue the fight for a cure.”

For these two Villanova student groups, the Breast Cancer Memorial Vigil concludes a week of hard work selling baked good, ribbons, luminaries and T-shirts.

The sisters of KKG, whose philanthropy is Breast Cancer Awareness, devote much of their time fundraising to support Suzan G. Komen For the Cure. The sorority has raised approximately $10,000. Everyday they continue to work toward their $100,000 goal.

According to their Web site, Susan G. Komen is “the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists [who are] working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.”

While men and children are also diagnosed with breast cancer, women are the ones most affected by it. Some of the most common causes include age and having a family history of breast cancer.

Margaret Mooney, president of VSABC, remarked that women over 40 should receive an annual mammogram.

The efforts of Villanova students fighting against breast cancer are not unnoticed. VSABC has been selling “Save Second Base” T-shirts in an effort to offer local women with an opportunity at early detection.

“If there is anything I have learned about Villanova in my four years here is that the students are committed to service and social justice and our fight against breast cancer is the perfect example of this commitment,” said Mooney.

As part of this ceremony, Lisa Woods was invited to share a bit of her story with the students present that evening.

Woods was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 37 years old. Her mother was also a victim of breast cancer. Today, Woods has undergone seven surgeries, chemotherapy and has gotten married. Her message was hopeful. She said that her reason for appearing before Villanova students was to thank them personally for all that they do. She mentioned that, thanks to organizations like the ones at Villanova, she was able to receive better treatment than her mother did.

Woods lives a pink life. She wears her pink wig to raise awareness. She does not want to look like she used to. Rather, she wants to stand out and share with others her struggles and empower others to join her cause.

Mooney asked the entire Villanova community to reflect on the importance of their mission.

“With every save second base shirt and cup of coffee we sell, we honor our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends and all our loved ones that have been affected by this disease,” Mooney said.

Dressed in pink, the participants lit the candles and passed the flame.

The event ended with a moment of silence for the many people who have lost the battle and for the 40,170 women who will die of breast cancer in 2009, according to NCI.