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Throughout October, Breast Cancer Care has been running their In the Pink campaign. This is a campaign which runs over the entire month and is dedicated not only to fund raising for the charity, but also to raising awareness of the realities and issues of breast cancer. The charity’s aim of making the public more conscious of the disease is achieved through getting companies to run nationwide fund-raising projects, such as the Breast Cancer Care products for sale in shops such as Dorothy Perkins and Asda. Alongside this the charity aims to encourage individuals to run their own events to help raise money and promote their cause.
This is a call that the students of Lancaster have responded to with evident enthusiasm. Jenny Smith, the Furness Female Ed and Welfare officer even went so far as to organise a sponsored skydive from 14,000 ft, despite a fear of both flying and heights, to promote a cause which she feels passionately about. Jen came to the decision as she saw it as a good way to raise awareness and money whilst doing something which was personally challenging and rewarding. Jen has currently raised an impressive £550 for the jump, which is scheduled to take place early November. Alongside defying gravity you may well have seen Jen with Furness treasurer Lucy Barnard traipsing around Furness bar, adding a ‘pink’ round to Trev’s quiz and painted from head to foot in pink (scoring a solid 9.5 for pinkness), selling badges and raising £150 for Breast Cancer Care. Jen said of the In the Pink campaign that whilst breast cancer is of course a year long concern, it’s a very good way of making charity work and the accompanying message ‘more personal, with the emphasis being on individual people in the community’.
If you feel that promoting Breast Cancer Care should be conducted with both feet placed firmly on the floor then fear not for this is well provided for. Falling slightly before the official start of In the Pink month, The Adidas Women’s 5K Challenge is a fantastic way to get involved in promoting awareness of breast cancer, as well as in raising as much money as possible for a long list of worthwhile charities. This year’s run was hugely successful, with 24,000 runners taking place in Liverpool, Birmingham and London. One of the two thousand participants of the run in Liverpool was Lancaster University student Victoria Astridge. Victoria decided to participate in the run as it gave her the motivation to get ‘fit and healthy’, whilst also meaning that she could help others by raising some money for her chosen charity Diabetes UK. The event is open to women of all ages and all abilities. Vicki claims that the ‘amazing atmosphere’ of the day and the stories of some of the women running was really inspiring and helped her to finish the race. In the end Vicki managed to raise £130 for her chosen charity and is planning to run in the event again.
During Week 3 you may also have seen numerous pink-painted people in and around Alex Square, all with the express aim of promoting awareness of breast cancer. Tuesday and Wednesday saw helpful pink people handing out vital information regarding breast cancer for both men and women, and a stall on Thursday was aimed at giving out more detailed information to the student body about breast cancer. The pink people could also be seen in Bowland bar on Friday evening, painting peoples face, hair and nails pink and dispensing helpful advice and information with reckless abandon. Once sufficiently informed and painted the pink party proceeded to bring chaos and information to every corner of the campus on a uni-wide bar crawl.
Torri Crapper, the non-sabbatical women’s officer, who has been instrumental in organising the awareness events said that dispensing as much information as possible was an important activity as ‘breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer affecting both men and women. Raising awareness and fund-raising for breast cancer research and encouraging both sexes to check themselves is hugely important in catching cancer early’.
Whilst improved treatment and an increase in detecting cancer early has led to a fall in the death rate of breast cancer by a fifth in the last decade, breast cancer still affects over 44,000 women a year. Unfortunately an average of 12,400 people die of breast cancer each year, with the disease being the second biggest killer of women. The events and activities organised by Breast Cancer Care and people in the community are meant to be light-hearted and fun for everyone to get involved in, however it is these unhappy figures which underline the importance of the fund-raising and awareness events which go on throughout the year.
As a reminder to anyone who didn’t manage to get any information on checking for breast cancer and dealing with the issues of tackling the illness, they can obtain advice and information from the women’s officers who are happy to help.