Daily Egyptian

Annual Start Seeing Pink campaign commemorates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Josie Arnett | @JosieArnett

Josie Arnett | @JosieArnett

Josie Arnett | @JosieArnett

By Tierra Carpenter

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means it’s time to “Start Seeing Pink” on campus.

SIU began the Start Seeing Pink campaign four years ago to commemorate the month with various campus events.

Beth Alongi, assistant director for marketing at the Student Center, said several university departments work together on a committee to plan events throughout the month, including Morris Library, the Health Center, Saluki Athletics, Housing and the Student Center.

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She said all of the departments teamed up “to try to pull all of our events together so we could market them more uniformly and try to get the word out a little bit better.”

This year’s events include a murder mystery dinner, a Big Pink volleyball game and a human pink ribbon photo, Alongi said.

The university is also fundraising for a scholarship called the Saluki Strength Breast Cancer Scholarship, which Alongi said goes to SIU students who have been affected by breast cancer.

According to the Student Center website, this $1,250 scholarship is awarded to up to five students, and recipients must be undergraduates with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. The application also requires a short essay.

Alongi said last year there were 25 students who applied for the scholarship, which was started so SIU’s breast cancer awareness fundraising efforts could also benefit students.

“Years ago, whenever the campus did breast cancer awareness campaigns, a lot of the times money didn’t go to SIU students,” Alongi said. “It went off-campus or somewhere else, and we decided to funnel that to benefit students.”

She said many students affected by breast cancer experience a financial impact.

One of those students is Elise Wells, a senior from Peoria studying forestry. She tells her story on the Saluki Funder website that SIU is also using to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

Wells said when she was 19, her mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer, and she realized she needed to take funding her education into her own hands.

“My parents money needed to go to any means to get my mom cancer-free,” Wells said in the video.

Wells now works three jobs to put herself through school. She said this is why receiving the Saluki Strength Breast Cancer Scholarship means so much to her.

“You have no idea what this award has meant to me, and how it has eased some of the financial burden that comes with college,” she said.

Alexis Renner, a senior from Cutler studying business management, is another past recipient of the scholarship who said she is very thankful for the money she received.

Renner said she was three years old when she found out her mother had breast cancer at 29.

Now, she said she makes sure to get mammograms regularly and she advises her friends to do the same.

“I have two very close girlfriends whose mothers also battled breast cancer,” Renner said. “We’re great support systems to each other.”

Renner said although she likes the idea of breast cancer awareness month, she thinks this level of awareness should be shown all year.

“I enjoy that there is a lot of information throughout October, but I don’t believe it needs to be limited to one month,” Renner said. “I think women need to know year round that you need to be always aware of your own body.”

For more information about this year’s Start Seeing Pink events, visit studentcenter.siu.edu/activities/pink. The site also contains guidelines for donating to and applying for the scholarship, which has a deadline of Dec. 1.

Tierra Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] or @tierramc_.

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