Bras boost breast cancer compassion

Bras boost breast cancer compassion

By Jordan Duncan

Students participated in a contest Wednesday to display bra art and raise breast cancer awareness.

The Student Health Center hosted the seventh annual “Be my Bra” contest where Registered Student Organizations and Greek organizations came together to express sentiments and experiences with breast cancer through art. Some talked about supporting those with breast cancer or the cause in general. Others talked about early detection and treatment.

Andy Morgan, acting assistant dean of students and one of the contest’s founders, said one of his motivations for helping start it was that his mother is a survivor of breast cancer. He said the contest was the collaborative effort of SIU and Southern Illinois Healthcare. He also said the important part of the contest was not the contest itself.

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“If you’re going to compete over this, great, but the main thing is to inspire and reward others for being supportive of someone who has had breast cancer,” Morgan said.

Dawn Null, wellness coordinator with the Student Health and Wellness Center, said she was excited to organize the contest because it follows an issue that resonates with many people.

“Cancer is close to many of our hearts because almost everyone knows someone who has or has had breast cancer,” Null said.

Null said organizers of the contest did not want it to be a fundraiser.

“It brings about a lot of awareness about breast cancer among college women,” Null said.

Dr. Nova Foster, an oncologist with SIH and one of the judges, said breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second most common cause of death by cancer.

She said breast cancer does occur in women in their 20s and it is important for women to be comfortable and know what their normal breasts feel like.

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When breast cancer is caught early, it is much more curable and the prognosis is much better,” Foster said.

Foster said she was asked to judge and was happy to participate.

“Breast cancer is what I do. It’s a cause that is very near and dear to me both professionally and personally,” Foster said

Dr. Kelli Webb, a plastic reconstructive surgeon with SIH, said in a speech it was important to educate young women about self-examination and early detection because starting earlier can save lives.

“Cancer does not care how old you are,” Webb said.

Webb said she likes to take care of women who have had breast cancer and to ensure they feel whole.

Delores Barfield, a sophomore from St. Louis studying animal production with Sigma Alpha, an agricultural sorority at the university which placed second, said women should be aware of their bodies and comfortable with examinations.

“You should be in tune with your body,” Barfield said. “You should be the first to notice something is wrong.”

Chloe Mccluskey, a freshman studying Physical therapy, said she appreciated the awareness the event planned to spread.

“Through the creativity of so many students it shows just what precaution should be taken,” Mccluskey said.

Morgan said he attends the event annually and he was touched by sentiments expressed by students presenting bras.

“A bra is something of support and the stories those students told were so impactful,” Morgan said.

Susan Ford attended the event for the first time and said she knows firsthand the effects of cancer. She said cancer has had a deep effect on her life because many of her family members had cancer at some point.

She said her 80-year-old mother was adamant about self examination and caught breast cancer early.

“This event and breast cancer awareness month remind us that, as women, we can never afford to be complacent,” Ford said.

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