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Organizations collaborate for breast cancer awareness

By Evelyn Garcia

According to the American Cancer Institute, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes and 40,450 of those women will die from the disease in 2016 alone.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, on Oct. 14 Intramural Sports collaborated with the Health and Wellness Center and Zeta Tau Alpha by hosting a volleyball tournament at the Bronco Recreation and Intramural Complex to inform students about breast cancer.

While breast cancer does occur most often in women over 40, there are a few common misconceptions and important information that the Wellness Center provided students with at the Big Pink Volleyball Tournament.

Katie Wang, a fourth-year dietetic student and peer health educator at the Wellness Center, said that one of the most common misconceptions that surprised students at the tournament was that men can get breast cancer.

Even though breast cancer in men is rare, Wang expressed that men are often forgotten when it comes to the disease and it is important for students to keep them in mind.

The Wellness Center incorporated a booth set up with a spin-wheel game aimed to give students important facts and figures about breast cancer while keeping them engaged. After playing, students were given pink prizes to keep with the theme.

The tournament also featured music, activities and pink lemonade to encourage students who were not participating to stop by and join in.

Although many students at Cal Poly Pomona are under 40 years of age and at a lesser risk of developing breast cancer, the Wellness Center wanted to provide students with information about how to look out for early signs or symptoms. This can be done by conducting breast self-exams or seeking help from a health care provider.

“There’s a lot of stuff out on the Internet, but you want to make sure you’re doing it right,” said Wang. “And we have providers at the health center who can show you how to do it properly.”

Janice Tam, a fifth-year dietetics student, further emphasized the importance of raising awareness on campus.

“I realized a lot of people have a family history of breast cancer and they still don’t know much about it,” said Tam.

Kaycee Tanioka, an Intramural Sports coordinator, oversees all intramural sports including leagues, tournaments and other special events.

“We thought this would be a really cool opportunity to gather around a cause that several groups are dedicated to on campus,” said Tanioka.

One of those groups, Zeta Tau Alpha, took the opportunity to kick off their “Think Pink” week with the Big Pink tournament. Since breast cancer awareness is the sorority’s philanthropy, this was their opportunity to interact with students and raise awareness.

“We got all the fraternities involved to have some friendly competition, play some volleyball and spread the word about breast cancer,” said Leanne Kim, a second-year business student.

Kim also explained that they handed out pamphlets and fliers on how to spot early symptoms of breast cancer, since prevention is the No. 1 step in the fight against it.

Nico Dominguez, a first-year business marketing student, attended the tournament to watch the games and enjoy the effort given for a good cause.

“It was really cool to see people you know doing something about it, going out, kind of making this a big, big deal,” said Dominguez.

The tournament was held on the lawn in front of the BRIC with several different teams who volunteered in advance to compete.

Tanioka hopes that the Big Pink Tournament’s success will help lay the groundwork for future collaborations and opportunities for organizations on campus to come together and support each other in order to raise awareness for different causes.

“This kind of really was in line with our mission of campus recreation, which is enhancing the college experience,” said Tanioka. “So we thought by tying in a cause to our tournament, we’re not just offering something that’s fun and social and recreational, it’s also bigger than that. And so that really resonated with us.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month plays a significant role in the fight against breast cancer and there are plenty of ways students can help and get involved in raising awareness both on- and off-campus. Students can begin by taking advantage of resources on campus and getting informed.

Big Pink Volleyball Tournament to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Courtesy of Patricia Guevarra

Big Pink Volleyball Tournament to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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