The campus of Saint Augustine’s University turned pink Friday for a series of events commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The celebration kicked off at noon as more than 70 members of the Falcon community linked arms to create a pink ribbon – the symbol of the fight against breast cancer – in the center of the University’s football field.
Throughout the day a truck offered free mammograms. The Saint Augustine’s volley ball team wore pink ribbons in their hair to represent breast cancer awareness.
In an emotional ceremony that evening, dozens of people gathered in front of the MLK Center for a candle light vigil honoring the memory of Cassandra Ward, who died of breast cancer in 2011. A Saint Augustine’s graduate, she was the wife of the University Interim President, Dr. Everett B. Ward, who also lost his mother to the disease. Oct. 17 would have been Cassandra Ward’s 55th birthday.
The vigil was hosted by the campus chapter of the sorority Mrs. Ward had belonged to as a student at Saint Augustine’s, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“This candle light really gave me insight of the impact that breast cancer has on people’s lives,” said Denard Haney, a junior business administration major. “With each candle burning, they are representing the tears of Saint Augustine’s University mourning the loss of the disease.”
According to Cancer Centers of America, in 2014 there were estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the United States, along with 62,570 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. About 1 out of 8 women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2014, a male’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. Breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.
— Story by Donald Carey
— Photo by Benita Mountain