Huntington University hosted its fifth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Week Oct. 20-27, as part of breast cancer awareness month.
New this year was “Mary’s Hope Wall.” The wall provided an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to share stories of people they know who have or had any type of cancer.
Margi Roush and Heather Barkley started HU’s breast cancer awareness week in memory of 1986 Huntington graduate Mary Knipp, who died of breast cancer in 2006.
Roush, director of alumni relations, said that Knipp was always full of hope, so the name of the wall fit well.
The wall displayed photos of various people along with brief stories about them and their battles with cancer. Most of the stories were submitted by students. Roush encourages students to not be shy about putting stories up on the wall and said her goal is to have even more stories and pictures up next year.
With the help of 20 volunteers, $155.50 was raised in luminary sales and donations during the week, which is a 23 percent ($40.50) increase from last year’s total. The money will be sent to the Young Survival Coalition in Indianapolis for an educational scholarship for young cancer survivors.
In addition the “Mary’s Hope Wall,” there were information tables in the DC and Norm’s that had pamphlets about cancer and ribbons of many colors, each representing a different type of cancer, that students and staff wore around campus. While information this year was mainly about breast cancer, the hope is that next year will include information about other types of cancer as well, Roush said.
Gloria Bonilla, a senior public relations major, was among the volunteers. She said she had a great time doing it.
“I have been involved with it since my freshman year donating and now volunteering,” she said. “The more I have done it, the more significance it has. When you share stories, I think it makes us stronger and encourages us to keep fighting. Knowing you are not alone gives hope.”
As part of the week, a breast cancer survivor Mary Jo Wolf spoke in Hardy basement. She is a one-and-a-half year survivor of triple negative breast cancer.
Her daughter, Amanda Wolf, is a student at Purdue, and was there with her mom while she told her story.
“If you know someone who is going through cancer, just be there for them,” Amanda told the group. “Do little things such as go clean their bathroom, watch their kids if they need it, or get their groceries. Even just go and hang out with them for a little while, show them you are there for them.”
There was only a small group of girls who attended, plus a cameraman, but Heather Barkley, coordinator for graduate and adult program marketing, said the smaller group allowed the girls to ask questions they might not have in a bigger group.
On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Week, the luminaries that had been purchased throughout the week were lit.
Those who were able to attend the event were given the opportunity to create their own luminary and light it themselves. Mary Knipp’s parents helped people create their luminaries and made ones for the people who could not make it out.
Roush and Barkley said their goal was not to scare anyone, only to make students aware of their health. They want students to know that young people can and do get cancer. They said their dream for students is to be healthy, strong and aware so that if something does go wrong, they can detect it early.
Watch this HTV report of Breast Cancer Awareness Week.