Nicole Brailer | Contributing Writer
Pink cookies, ribbons, balloons and a bra decorating contest can mean only one thing, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Thursday, Oct. 18, students filled Kaufman Hall to show their support and participate in ODU's Annual Breastival event. The breastivities ran from 11:00 am to 3:00 p.m. and included an Information Fair, games and contests, a free workout, food and a free "Just Cure It" shirt to the first 300 students.
ODU's Annual Breastival is sponsored by the Women's Center and put on in an effort to educate the students and faculty on the importance of breast cancer awareness. The event provides attendees with the knowledge of how to detect early stages of breast cancer, screening, risk factors, types and the resources needed to combat and help others combat breast cancer.
The Information Fair included various booths with representatives from committees and associations including the Women's Center, Student Nurse Association, Recreation and Wellness, Student Health Advisory Committee and M-Power. Local nonprofit organizations attended as well and included the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen and the YWCA of South Hampton Roads.
Upon arriving and registering at the event, students were handed a pink "Breastival Passport" that contained blank spaces for them to collect signatures by bringing their passport from booth to booth throughout the festival.
Before signing their passports, a representative would welcome students as they offered them a wealth of knowledge, advice and important statistics proving how vital awareness is. Once students visited each station and received signatures, they would turn in their passport to receive a meal and some pink treats.
Some stations handed out flyers, pamphlets and information packets while others set up games to win prizes such as awareness pins, pens and pink bracelets. Recreation and Wellness provided students with a large paper pink ribbon for them to write a loved one's name that is fighting, or survived, breast cancer. The ribbons will be put up on their Recognition Wall in the Student Recreation Center outside of Studio A.
Students were encouraged to enter their decorated bras into a contest. Sabrina Hall, student and daughter of a survivor, entered her decorated bra into the contest to raise awareness and represent her mother who was recently diagnosed and underwent surgery.
"It's important for me to be a part of this cause. Raising awareness is so important to help educate on early detection because if you detect it early, you have a higher rate of survival. You need to take care of your health too. I call it 'Fit for Prevention' where you take care of yourself so that if you are diagnosed, you have a better chance of fighting it," said Hall.
Deborah Brown from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation expressed her passion in raising awareness and the importance of having an event like this.
"Breast cancer has no age, and no gender and I'm honored to have the strength to be able to speak on behalf of those that can't. An event like this is so important because people unite for a cause whether they have breast cancer, or not," said Brown.
Planning for the next Annual Breastival is already underway and is expected to be a continued success in raising awareness for breast cancer.
For more information on the Women's Center programs, events, and other resources, visit https://www.odu.edu/life/support/womenscenter.