Wheaton crowns “King of Pink” to end Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month concluded Thursday Oct. 31 with the “King of Pink” event in the Balfour-Hood Center from 12 to 2 p.m. Students wrote names of victims or survivors on cutouts of pink ribbons and placed them on the wall to remember or honor their loved ones. There was also a pink and white cake in celebration of how far breast cancer research has come over the years.

The disease affects many people and while most are aware of it, there are steps that we can take to improve early detection and to catch the disease in earlier stages while encouraging others to do the same.

Kaitlyn Saloano ’16, Sarah Brown ’15, Emily Christensen ’15, Frannie Palmer ’17, and Jackay Richards ’16 set up a table in Balfour for Colleges Against Cancer (CAC). They provided pamphlets regarding information about how to check yourself for cancer, what types of cancer to look out for, and where to go to receive more information.

“My dad battled prostate cancer but was able to beat it. But I know so many people are affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, and they all deserve our support” said Palmer.

Colleges Against Caner is a nation-wide program of students, staff, and faculty put on by the American Cancer Society and dedicated to raising awareness and lessening the impact of cancer by creating various programs. The objective is to show that young people care and want to raise awareness while raising money and making a difference. Colleges Against Cancer does this in four different ways: Advocacy, Cancer Education, Relay For Life, and Survivorship.

“My Nana passed away from breast cancer in 1998 and my Poppi survived prostate cancer many years ago, but passed away from lung cancer last year. Cancer affects so many people and not only is it a personal struggle, it’s a public issue. I joined Colleges Against Cancer so that I could be even a small part in the fight to find a cure,” said Solano.

A few weeks prior to the final event, jars were placed in the Balfour-Hood Café with the pictures of SGA President Joey Campbell ’14, Director of the Fitness Center, Club Sports and Intramurals Steve Angelo, Matt Sexton ’14, Director of Athletics and Recreation John Sutyak and Senior Associate Dean Jack Kuszaj. Students were then asked to put donations in the jar of the person that they wanted to see get crowned as “King of Pink” and caked in the face.

Campbell was the original winner by popular vote, but was unable to attend the event. The runner up was Kuszaj, who good-naturedly took Campbell’s place.

Kuszaj stopped for a moment to remember his closest friend who had breast cancer.

“She had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. It has been ten years and she is doing great, it really was the greatest thing I have ever seen someone do” he said. Then, in the spirit of charity and awareness raising, he allowed a member of the faculty to pie him in the face.

Although there has been great progress in raising awareness and increasing detection for early stages of the disease, there is still a long way to go in finding a cure, and Wheaton along with Colleges Against Cancer will continue to play a role in helping the cause.