It’s October: fall, midterms, and spooky season is all that most NJIT students associate with the second month of the semester. However, October is one of the most important months in the United States, as it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many NJIT students are dedicating their time and efforts to contribute towards this national campaign.
In New Jersey, 13% of women have or may be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In Essex County, home of NJIT, the rate of breast cancer mortality is over 10% higher than the rate in New Jersey at large. To many students, breast cancer is not just another disease—it’s personal. Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, and friends have all had to fight against breast cancer, and each of their stories could fill volumes.
The goal of National Breast Cancer Awareness month is to raise funding for research into curing and treating breast cancer, and awareness about screening for breast cancer through mammograms. This funding is raised primarily through donations to charities like the Susan G. Komen Foundation, affiliated product purchases, and fundraising events like Race for the Cure. While these events are held across the nation during the month of October, there are still many opportunities here at NJIT to make a difference for those affected by breast cancer.
One club in particular, the Pre-Health Society (PHS), is dedicated to making a difference in the Newark community and here at NJIT. Last year, PHS was able to raise $1,000 for the American Cancer Society through their annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. This money is then put towards research and supporting patients and families who are struggling with breast cancer.
PHS partners with a service fraternity, APO, and assists them with their food deliveries on campus on Thursday nights—an endeavor which helped PHS raise $400 last year! PHS will also be fundraising this year by tabling and selling pink ribbons in the Campus Center on October 8, 11 and 16. At these tabling sessions anyone can donate or buy a ribbon. This act of donating towards a cure acts in conjunction with the physical ribbons to raise awareness, and remind the public that breast cancer can truly affect anyone—in the US alone, one in every eight women will develop invasive breast cancer. The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is set for 10 am on Sunday, October 21, at the Prudential Center.
One thing worth remembering is that while October is breast cancer awareness month, the disease doesn’t go away Halloween night—though we all wish it would. Across Newark, breast cancer is a huge problem. Women may lack access to screenings via mammograms, or to healthcare at large.
Just a block off campus, the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Saint Michael’s Medical Center has the express goal of lowering the financial burden faced by women in Essex County, and specifically in Newark. Rutgers University-Newark and the New Jersey Medical School are also making strides in researching the causes, cures, and therapeutic approaches that most help the women of Newark, and those affected by breast cancer.