When you get your diagnosis, you feel like your being hit by a truck and then it backs up and runs over you again.” This is how Sheryl Crowe, a famous country singer and song writer, described the moment that she learned she had breast cancer. Each year thousands of women are given the same diagnosis.
With the second week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month already underway, Florida Gulf Coast University students and Lee County residents have taken advantage of fundraising and promoting awareness. Sorority Zeta Tau Alpha has made its presence on campus noticeable, promoting its philanthropy through the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation. Morgan McComas, a sophomore communications major and member of Zeta Tau Alpha, said that during the month of October, Zeta Tau Alpha is hosting events to raise money for breast cancer education and awareness. “Our theme is “On Wednesdays we wear pink” so every Wednesday we will be tabling on campus and handing out pink breast cancer ribbons.”
Morgan told Eagle News about other events the Zetas are doing. “Oct. 16 Paul Mitchell will be on campus selling Pink hair strands that you can wear to show your support. Oct. 23 we will be having a Yoplait yogurt eating contest on the library lawn and all month we will be collecting the yoplait yogurt lids to make money. Oct. 30 we will be having Think Pink trick or treat at our table with all pink candy to show support.”
Tijuana Flats is also honoring those who have been affected by breast cancer. Pim Pusri, a sophomore majoring in athletic training, said “You may donate a dollar with your meal to get pink tacos, or donate $5 towards breast cancer and get a free bottle of hot sauce.” However, according to the Tijuana Flats website, only $3 of every $5 that is donated will be used toward breast cancer awareness
Debra Giambo is a professor in the College of Education. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and will be celebrating her second anniversary of being cancer free on Oct. 6. Giambo was lucky to find the cancer early.
“I felt like the world was crumbling down around me,” Giambo said.
Giambo said she first noticed that something was wrong when she did a self-examination. At a visit to her doctor, Giambo learned 25 percent of breast tumors do not show up on mammograms. While it is still good to get a yearly mammogram, all women and men should do monthly self-examinations.
Giambo said while her husband had supported her every step of the way, she said that her friends and co-workers at FGCU were also there for her whenever she needed it.
“I tend to be somebody who has a hard time asking for help,” Giambo said. “It is really helpful because, if people don’t know what’s going on, they can’t offer support or give you room when you need it.”
Giambo said she now uses her experience with breast cancer as a lesson to all of her students on why they need to preform monthly self-examinations.
Angela Skidmore, an undeclared freshmen, was shocked when she learned that one of her professors had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was heartbroken to lose an English teacher that I’d actually learned from,” Skidmore said.
This was Skidmore’s second time taking a class with Jill Allen. Her class chipped in to support their professor by buying her healing crystals.
“I believe that the crystals would heal not only her body but her soul,” Skidmore said.
Many organizations are available to help those affected by breast cancer, both locally and globally. The American Cancer Society has an office located in Fort Myers and can provide many services to those who are fighting or know someone who is fighting against the illness. The National Mammography Program also strives to provide free mammograms for underserved women across the country.
Breast cancer does not discriminate. It can affect males and females of any race and ethnicity. For breast health information, please visit the American Cancer Society’s website at http://www. cancer.org. And if you happen to see Professor Giambo walking around on campus, give her big congratulations on being two-years cancer free.