Pink October: Bulldogs battle breast cancer

KATIE GOODRICH
STAFF REPORTER

During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the familiar Butler blue around campus is replaced by a new color–pink.
Since 1985, October has been observed as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by a collaboration of groups including the American Cancer Society. They focus on raising awareness and educating people about breast cancer, according to the NBCAM website.
Several Butler University organizations are promoting NBCAM around campus.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Butler campus community has numerous chances to get involved in the fight against breast cancer. Student organizations and athletic teams host events where everyone can participate and raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and those affected by the disease.
Bulldogs Against Breast Cancer is a student organization that promotes awareness, raises funds, and volunteers at several cancer walks in the Indianapolis community.
BABC was created four years ago by Laura Spieth in memory of her mother who passed away from breast cancer, said sophomore Katelyn White, the vice president of BABC.
“October is an insane month for us,” White said. “But it’s a lot of fun.”
As students return from fall break, BABC will kick-off its “Pink Week.” Throughout the week, BABC will hold different events and fundraisers.
On Wednesday, anyone who wears pink will get a small giveaway if they go to the gazebo by Starbucks. Also on Wednesday, a luminaire walk will honor survivors and all those who lost their lives to the disease.
On Friday, the group will be “Dyeing for a Cure.” For a small donation, you can tie-dye a shirt on the mall.
The men’s soccer game Saturday will have a BABC tailgate where the group partners with Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life because it is also respect life month.
This year, the club has set a goal to raise $500 in October. From a t-shirt pre-sale, they have already raised $300. All money raised by the group either goes to BABC for continued fundraising and events or Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the nation’s largest breast cancer organization, White said.
The student organization volunteers at cancer walks in Indianapolis, and they have a team entered in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. The group is also looking into volunteering at hospitals in the area this spring.
White said she believes in the importance of raising awareness for the entire student population.
“Students need to be aware that this is a huge issue,” White said. “Breast cancer is a very prominent disease in both men and women. It’s important to raise funds and raise awareness because you never know who this could impact somewhere down the line.”
White knows the impact that a breast cancer diagnosis can have. Her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought for 16 years before passing away. White joined BABC to honor her.
“I do it because I want something good to come out of her losing her battle,” White said. “I feel that if I am a part of a breast cancer organization, raising awareness, raising funds, then I am doing my part to make sure her name lives on.”
Sophomore Tori Farr got involved with BABC after seeing the organization at Block Party her freshman year.
“Breast cancer is something that is close to my heart,” Farr said. “My mom had it. I want to let people know that it does happen.”
White and Farr said they like the “pink” athletics the most out of all the BABC activities. BABC plans entertainment for the games during time-outs and breaks in play.
“It’s something fun that we get to do while we are raising awareness,” White said.
Many professional sports teams have donned pink accessories or uniforms to promote breast cancer awareness month. That trend has influenced many college teams to follow suit, and Butler’s are no exception.
Lindsay Martin, manager of sports marketing and promotions, organized the pink football game. The team wore pink wristbands and used pink tape when it played Stetson University October 5.
Martin said the idea for the games came from the athletic department.
“Honestly, our coaches brought it to us,” Martin said.
Butler’s first “pink” game was women’s volleyball in 2006.
When women’s basketball coach Beth Couture was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, the movement gained major momentum at Butler.
“It really took off when coach Couture was diagnosed,” Martin said. “It had always been an important topic, but now it really hit home to us in our department.”
The athletics department works closely with BABC and St. Vincent’s Hospital where Couture received treatment, Martin said.
Martin said the games unite campus around a common cause.
“It’s a cause that most people care about,” Martin said. “Something like breast cancer touches everyone. Most people on campus have a connection to maybe not breast cancer specifically, but cancer in general. Even if you’re not a sports fan, it’s a cause you can get behind.”

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