By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer
September has come and gone, and as October commences, many people use this month to advocate.
October—most notably known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month—has communities both big and small coming together to raise awareness for the cause.
Director of UMass Dartmouth Student Health Services, Sheila Dorgan, believes early detection is critical. “The good news is that in the USA most people diagnosed with breast cancer will live for many years,” according to Dorgan, when researching the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen websites.
“Today there are more than 3.6 million breast cancer survivors in this country. Early detection advances breast cancer research and helps contribute to the survival rate.”
There is no strict guideline to how one can participate; there are endless ways in which people can get involved. Often, people will collaborate in school districts and businesses to have a “pink” day, where everyone is encouraged to where pink clothing or a ribbon to show their support.
Other simple but effective ways to highlight the cause is through a bake sale or a coin jar. From pink frosted cupcakes, to pink sprinkles on cookies, the options are endless.
Social media is on the rise with spreading awareness as more people are using this medium to fundraise. Facebook now allows users to create fundraisers for just about anything you can think of. This allows people to come together and donate as little as $5.00, which adds up. Donate what you can and watch the numbers grow as more and more of your friends show their support.
Danceathons, walks, 5ks, and benefits are other ways one can raise not only awareness but fund-raise in honor or memory of a loved one.
Melanie Smeaton an educator at Dartmouth Public Schools has worked endlessly to support a cause that she holds close to her heart. “My grandmother passed away from lung cancer in January 2014, during my freshman year [of college]. It sparked a fire in me to continue to fight for a cure for cancer. My mom’s cousin, aunt, and close friend have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and fought the battle against it,” said Smeaton. “Since breast cancer has affected my family in so many ways, I am determined to find a cure.”
Smeaton has participated in many various events helping towards finding a cure. “I’ve participated in Relays, walks, and donated my own money to the American Cancer Society. I’ve served dinner to cancer patients for three years at the Hope Lodge in Boston, where I’ve had personal conversations with cancer patients,” said Smeaton. “The Lodge is a place where cancer patients are able to stay and be transported to a nearby hospital for convenient treatment.”
There are so many ways in which one can contribute to the cause. “Simply volunteering for a planning committee in the area or joining the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. There are so many opportunities through the American Cancer Society that allow those who wish to be a part of the fight against cancer,” said Smeaton. “There are relays and walks that support all different types of cancer, depending on which one has affected your life.”
The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk will take place in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday October 14, 2018.
Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. If interested in registering, you can register online on the American Cancer Societies website. “…I have participated in this walk the last couple of years and love the support and positivity it brings for those who have been affected,” says Smeaton.
Getting involved portrays leadership and support for those that have been affected by breast cancer. A simple act of kindness is the biggest gift one can receive. If looking to join the movement year long UMass Dartmouth has a Relay for Life organization that works to unite together to hep find a cure for cancer.
Smeaton encourages all those to speak up and join her: “If anyone is interested in participating in a Relay or walk that supports cancer awareness and research, please do so.”
“It has changed my life, because it is something that I am very passionate about, since I am participating in support and memory of so many family and friends that have been affected by this horrible disease.” said Smeaton. “Get involved!”