Student groups raise awareness about breast cancer

Lauren Piro

Villanova Students Against Breast Cancer is kicking off the school year with a new fundraiser to support its cause. Looking to spread the word about the fight against breast cancer not only on campus but also in the surrounding area, the group has partnered with six local restaurants in an initiative called “Pick Up the Check.”

The program provides donation cards to diners at participating area restaurants when they are given their check. Customers can choose to add the amount they would like to donate to their bill. Starting in and continuing through the month of October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the restaurants will compile and keep track of all donations made.

“If you already have your credit card out, what’s another $5 or $10?” said junior Margaret Mooney, president of VSABC.

All donations made to the club will then be given to the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, a local non-profit organization that works toward providing women in the Delaware Valley with free mammograms.

Participating restaurants include Antonelli’s Italian Kitchen in Rosemont, Blush Restaurant and Bar in Bryn Mawr, the Silver Spoon Café in Wayne, Sola in Bryn Mawr, Maia in Villanova and the Freehouse in Wayne.

“We’re very excited about the upcoming fundraiser,” Mooney said. “We’re anticipating a very successful fall semester.”

VSABC started last semester as the answer to one of many unimplemented student ideas left behind in Dr. Gerard Olsen’s Corporate Restructuring class.

The class had worked toward developing strategies to increase the foundation’s revenue, and VSABC began when then-senior Natasha Mariani wished to keep the project going after she graduated from the University. Mooney stepped up to the plate as president, and the group spent much of its first semester together brainstorming ideas for the months to come.

Last spring’s VSABC implemented the campus-wide sale of “Save Second Base” T-shirts. With this, the group raised $2,000 for the Linda Creed Foundation, which could provide up to 40 mammograms.

The club plans to help with Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority’s Breast Cancer Awareness Vigil to be held in October. The sorority works to benefit another breast cancer awareness advocacy group, the Susan G. Komen Foundation. VSABC members said they hope to accomplish a breast-health fair as well as patient visits to local hospitals where women are receiving treatment for the disease.

“Part of our purpose is to educate the Villanova community about breast health and the importance of early detection,” Mooney said.

Mooney knows firsthand the importance of education; her cousin Bridget (now part of Susan G. Komen’s Young Women’s National Advisory Council) was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer at age 21, even after she had been told not to worry about the disease at such a young age.

“I know a lot of people who have lost their moms to the disease,” Mooney said.

The group will also continue its work on legislative issues, circulating a petition to pass what has become known as the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act. This act looks toward requiring insurance companies to cover a 48-hour hospital stay after breast-cancer related surgery, such as a mastectomy.

“Right now a woman can be sent home four hours after surgery, which is absurd,” Mooney said.

Mooney said she hopes that with impending Congressional changes after the November election, VSABC can help get the bill passed.

VSABC has 375 people on its mailing list and had approximately 60 new students interested in becoming active members at the year’s first meeting.

“I’m really inspired by the members of the club,” Mooney said. “The incoming freshmen, especially, are remarkable. They have a lot of awesome ideas.”

For now though, VSABC will continue to promote “Pick Up the Check” through October.

“I want to encourage the whole Villanova community to go to the restaurants in the month of October and support the cause,” Mooney said.