Villanovans walk for cancer cure

Jeffrey Eisenberg

Two Campus Ministry interns and a freshman student will participate in Philadelphia’s annual Breast Cancer 3-Day on Oct. 5-7.

Caughlin Hall’s Campus Ministry intern Liza Manjarrez and Katharine Hall’s intern Meggie Greene, as well as one of Greene’s female residents from Katharine, comprise Team “How to Save a Life.”

The event is a three-day, 60-mile walk beginning in New Jersey which winds through Pennsylvania into Philadelphia, forming a breast cancer ribbon-shaped course. It is a national fundraising effort for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

“We have been training for about the past two months,” Manjarrez said. “We do a lot of endurance training and try to walk about seven to nine miles per day.”

Though the preparation and actual event may be grueling, all three members of the team have strong motivations for their work.

Manjarrez, for example, was involved with Race for the Cure as a volunteer in college.

When a participant in a group of women she used to work with passed away after being diagnosed with breast cancer, her level of awareness increased and spurred her desire to get involved.

“When I came to Villanova, [the 3-Day] was well advertised, and so I wanted to get involved,” Manjarrez said.

Greene has an even more personal reason, since her grandmother died from breast cancer.

“After [my grandmother] was diagnosed, she didn’t have the will to fight it,” Greene said.

Similarly, Greene’s resident experienced a personal tragedy. Her mother died from breast cancer.

Getting these stories out to the public, along with the 3-Day, is aimed at generating not only funds, but awareness as well.

“The awareness is a huge piece,” Manjarrez said. “Seeing thousands of people walk in these huge metropolitan areas like Philadelphia, Boston, New York [City] and Chicago generates a lot of awareness.”

Greene agreed, pointing out that the scope of the event also increases understanding of breast cancer. Awareness is important not only in raising money toward a cure, but also in recognizing available preventative measures and how many people the disease affects.

“You really learn that a lot of people are touched by this, more than you would think,” Greene said.

“It is very curable if you catch it early,” she said. “So much could have been done. Awareness could have saved [my grandmother].”

All participants in the Philadelphia 3-Day, both walkers and crew members, are required to make a pledge of $2,200 each.

The members of the team have been hard at work trying to raise the money.

Greene is within about $300 of reaching the necessary $2,200 and has received significant support from family because of their experience.

Manjarrez is still about $1,000 short of her goal, but she is reaching out with letters to friends, family, community businesses and even Facebook groups.

“Either way, the outpouring of support has been great,” Manjarrez said. “Really, the non-monetary support has been the best for me.”

The team members are hoping that their participation in this year’s 3-Day will influence the Villanova community as well.

“On the personal level, remind family members for their yearly mammograms,” Greene said. “Also, it can occur in men, so everyone should be aware.”

Campus Ministry will likely be running vans to the closing ceremonies for interested students, Manjarrez said.