Photo by: Henoc Kivuye
Drawing in thousands of participants, the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure took place at the Myriad Botanical Gardens on Oct. 20. While the race only raised 43 percent of their goal, almost $108,000 was raised from individual racers to teams participating in the race.
“I think Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity for everyone to pull together and rally together for a wonderful cause and to celebrate the lives of people who have passed away and to celebrate and support the people who are fighting the battle right now,” said sophomore Victor Black. “I think it’s a great time to get people aware and to get people thinking about it.”
An estimated 75 percent of the funds raised from the race will go towards local services such as free mammograms and diagnostics, medical treatment for qualified breast cancer patients who can’t afford care and education about warning signs of breast cancer.
The other 25 percent raised will fund cancer research.
Also hosting breast cancer awareness fundraisers is the Oklahoma Project Woman organization.
Oklahoma Project Woman is a statewide program that provides free mammograms, diagnostic procedures and surgical services for Oklahoma women with no health insurance or limited financial services.
“I think that’s huge,” Darci Thompson, director of fitness and wellness at Oklahoma Christian University, said. “I have wondered at times how someone deals with this if they don’t have insurance. Treatment is a huge expense so any program that is going to help women have access to those resources is huge.”
Thompson began her own battle with breast cancer in March when she was 12 weeks pregnant with her second child.
“It’s been challenging, especially having two little girls at home,” Thompson said. “But honestly, I’ve handled it pretty well and haven’t had any major issues.”
Since 1998, Oklahoma Project Woman has provided more than 25,000 uninsured Oklahomans with women’s health care. 510 of them were diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I am happy to see Oklahoma offering breast health care to these women,” senior Dwayne Wiseman said. “I would, however, like to see these same services eventually offered to all women because even with insurance, breast health care can become very expensive and a financial burden.”
Wiseman says that the topic of breast cancer hits home. His grandmother was diagnosed 13 years ago with breast cancer and ever since has been an advocate for breast cancer awareness.
“I think it is very important for women to take breast cancer awareness seriously,” Wiseman said. “It’s something that seems to be affecting more and more women every year, and so I’m glad that we take a month to really be adamant about being educated, tested and treated. I think America has done a great job of going pink during October.”
For October’s breast cancer awareness, companies around the country are supporting the cause.
Panera Bread is offering pink ribbon bagels and giving 25 cents for each bagel bought to breast cancer research, the NFL is raising awareness with their pink campaign and locally, the University of Central Oklahoma’s Women of Many Ethnic Nationalities (WOMEN) club has put together activities throughout the month to highlight breast cancer awareness.
Aside from awareness, this month is also a time to raise funds for cancer research. Some scientists believe that a cure could be obtained in the near future.
“Cancer research has come so far in the past 20 years and it makes me wonder how much more we’ll know about it 20 years from now,” Thompson said. “Who knows where we’ll be in cancer research in the future. When my daughters go to get checked 20 years from now we might even have a cure.”
Wiseman agrees with Thompson about the advancement of cancer research and why it is important to contribute to finding a cure.
“Contributing to finding the cure is important because we will get one step closer to finding a cure for something that is killing and affecting women every day,” Wiseman said. “This type of issue is very important to donate and put your money into. Finding a cure for one cancer could lead to the cure for other forms of cancer. One day we might actually have the cure to all cancer, which would be great.”