By Jasmine Huang
Standing in the dimly-lit courtyard of Guerry Garth, around 20 students gathered in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and listened to educational programming about the illness. The function, hosted by the Community Engagement House, included pink candlesticks for participants to hold during a candlelight vigil in recognition of those affected by the illness.
The event began with two speakers: Karen Tharp, the director of the University Health Service and a registered nurse, and Tonia Christian, a nurse practitioner at the Wellness Center. They discussed the history and importance of breast cancer exams before explaining how students could conduct self-examinations.
“Whenever you’re doing your own breast exam, if you’re a woman who’s doing her own breast exam or helping somebody do theirs, don’t feel like you can do it wrong. All you’re doing is feeling for a lump,” Christian explained.
Pointing out how most women have self-exams in the shower, she continued, “If you’re going to do it on a regular basis, you’ll know what feels normal and what doesn’t.”
Shortly after, Reagan Leverett (C’22) provided her own personal anecdote on the impact of breast cancer in her life. Leverett gave a brief overview of her mother’s experience as a breast cancer survivor.
“I just hope that people can take away that breast cancer is a really common disease. It can happen to anyone, and that awareness is really important. Everyone needs to get checked,” Leverett commented.
Towards the end of the vigil, Tija Odoms (C’21), a resident of the Community Engagement House and lead organizer of the function, remarked, “I decided to have this event in an effort to spread awareness, provide methods of prevention, and pray for the Sewanee community in the hopes that they won’t be victims as well.”
She concluded, “You never know who the next breast cancer victim could be.”