By KATRINA EDLEFSEN
Pumpkins or turkey, costumes or cranberries, everyone thinks of something different when October comes along, but it is also a time for fighting back against breast cancer.
According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, over 23,000 women and 200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone in Canada. October is the month where people rally together to fight back.
Every October survivors, family members and charities all come together for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to increase awareness of the disease.
Some people participate in the events as a way to remember lost loved ones. Second-year journalism broadcast student Kail Walters lost her mother 15 years ago because of breast cancer.
“I remember seeing all these women who looked like they could be the mother, aunt or grandparent of another little girl like me – all waiting to do the same tests my mother was doing,” Walters recalled.
To this day Walters remembers her mother as a strong woman who never let the cancer slow her down.
“Never once did it appear to me like she was afraid,” Walters said. “I looked up to her – she was just as confident taking me out to the park for a walk as she was skiing down this big scary hill.”
The month after her mother passed away, Walters and her family did their very first Run for the Cure. This year the 22nd annual run was held Oct. 6. This 5-km or 1-km walk or run raises funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Last year it raised over $30 million, all of which went to funding research, education and awareness.
I feel that these events and contributions are so important because you never know whose life you could have changed for the better,” Walters said. “I believe these events are part of the reason I can proudly call my grandmother, who got cancer when I was young, a survivor.”
One thing a lot of people forget is that you don’t have to be a survivor or a family member of someone with breast cancer to participate in any of the events held throughout the month.
Qasem Najem, a third-year student in the electronics engineering technology – telecommunications systems program, participated in this year’s run. Though he has not personally been impacted by the disease Najem sees the run as a way to support those with the cancer.
“I always believed that we all share our community. It’s everyone’s responsibility to help others and support people in need,” Najem said.
“Support is to show them that we are there for them; to show them that others still care. And to spread awareness in public to prevent cancer as much as we can.”
For more information on breast cancer or to find events near you, go to www.cbcf.org/central/Pages/default.aspx.
By KATRINA EDLEFSEN