A group with something terrible in common gathered Friday on the campus of Grove City College to demonstrate their strength, faith and shared commitment to raising awareness about breast cancer.
Women and men who have been diagnosed, survived or shared the struggle against the disease were invited to gather in solidarity in the courtyard of the Staley Hall of Arts and Letters. They came together to mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and bring the decades-old campaign to educate Americans about the globe’s most common form of cancer to campus.
Breast cancer is expected to kill more than 43,000 American men and women this year. That’s just one of many “terrifying statistics” about the disease that Marci Wagner, director of Human Resources for the College, shared with the group.
“One in eight American women will be diagnosed during their lifetime,” she added. “Having been recently diagnosed myself, I have shared my story with others in an effort to bring a heightened awareness of the disease to our community. Doing so has encouraged several women among us to schedule a breast cancer screening,” she said.
Wagner organized Friday’s observance to bring the message to a larger audience. After College Chaplain and Senior Director of Christian Formation Donald D. Opitz offered a prayer, Wagner spoke briefly and recognized members of the campus community who have experienced breast cancer firsthand. Their numbers demonstrated how widespread the disease’s impact is on a small community like Grove City College. “Look at how many women are here today. It’s shocking,” she said.
As the observance came to a close, dye was added to a nearby fountain and a gusher of pink water shot up. The fountain will stay pink for the rest of the month to drive the awareness message home.
“This is a chance to lift each other up and dedicate time to education about breast cancer and the importance of finding and diagnosing the disease before symptoms appear,” Wagner said.