By Brittany Tate
Subtle hues of pink will dot the CCGA campus throughout October as students, faculty and staff observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As part of the Office of Student Life's "Think Pink" initiative, a Breast Cancer Awareness Day will be held on Wednesday, October 5 on the Campus Center lawn.
To Jaime Parker-Lewis, Director of Campus Center and Student Life, it's an opportunity to support all who have been touched by the disease that affects approximately 1 in 8 women in the U.S. annually.
"This is a day to remind us of the effects of breast cancer, to share information and to pay respects to those who are battling the disease and to those who have lost the fight," Parker-Lewis said.
Five years ago, the Breast Cancer Awareness Day began as the Office of Student Life's campaign to encourage all Mariners to don pink during the month of October and to write tributes and/or reflect on how the disease has touched them personally. The testimonies could be seen in the campus lobby.
Now, the fledgling, daylong event has become a mainstay on the CCGA campus. Partnered with students in the Radiologic Science program, the Coastal Georgia Association of Nursing Students (CGANS), the Rotaract Club of College of Coastal Georgia and the Student Health Center, as well as several other community and campus organizations, Student Life has taken the helm of the event to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds to help promote the cause.
"Over the past couple of years, we have used this as a fundraiser with proceeds going to Susan G. Komen and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade," Parker-Lewis said.
That same focus can be expected this year as well. Breast Cancer Awareness Day will kick off with the Pink Out Sale today, October 3 at the Lighthouse Bookstore, where select pink items will be on sale at 20 percent off.
On Wednesday, October 5, tents providing educational material on breast cancer — like the one that will be manned by CGANS — will cover the Campus Center lawn. It's an opportunity to reach out to the attendees and passersby about the importance of educational resources on breast cancer and early screenings. Dr. Lauren Boardman, Assistant Professor of Nursing, can attest to that.
"When I was younger, I wasn't too concerned with breast cancer but at age 26, I found a lump," Boardman said. "I know how scary it can be to go through something like this so getting young men and women to start doing self-exams is one of my main focuses. It's better to catch it and be proactive instead of being reactive."
The CGANS tent will provide information on getting breast exams as a woman by a medical practitioner as well as breast cancer simulators to show what a lump feels like and how to do monthly self-exams.
Though the event may appear to be female-centric, Boardman is hopeful it won't fall on deaf ears among men as they are also at risk of breast cancer.
"We will have information on breast cancer but also testicular cancer to educate men on how to do self-exams," she said. "A lot of times, men will find lumps or pebbles in their scrotums that aren't normal but aren't paying close attention to their breasts' anatomy. This is a good two-for-one approach to men's health."
Throughout the day, attendees can stop and admire some of the Art Club students' mosaics of pink or have their hair colored with pink hair spray. There will also be a Southeast Georgia Health System Wellness on Wheels (WOW) mobile health vehicle available for screenings. Additionally, the CCGA Dance Team will host a Zumba-inspired pink party during the event.
"It is only right that we take a moment to consider the fight, those who are fighting it, those who have lost the fight and those in search of a cure," Parker-Lewis said.
While the event will be held all day on Wednesday, October 5, majority of the event offerings will be held between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information on the Breast Cancer Awareness Day, visit "Student Life" on www.ccga.edu or contact Jaime Parker-Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.