More than 25 years ago, October was declared National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It has become a month dedicated to fighting the malicious disease of breast cancer.
There’s been an abundance of bras in the Shepherd Union Building at Weber State University’s Ogden campus the past two weeks for the Creative Curves for Cancer Campaign held by the WSU Women’s Center. The objective of the contest was to design the most bodacious brassiere to raise awareness and show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The bras will be donated to a cancer foundation to show WSU’s collective effort to raise awareness for breast cancer.
“We were hoping for about 25 bras,” said Carol Merrill, director for the WSU Women’s Center. “We ended up with 150. The creativity was overwhelming. The amount of detail and talent and skill far exceeded what we thought we would receive.”
After days of deliberation, a few winners of subcategories were chosen for elaborate, humorous or inspiring designs. The overall winner chosen was an entry from the WSU Davis Learning Center.
Leslie Loeffel from the WSU Davis Learning Center said the winning entry was a departmental effort, but it was led by administrative specialist Shelly Park. The symbolism involved with a butterfly’s transformation inspired the design. Park said survivors need to know they are still beautiful.
“Don’t hide in your cocoon,” she urged. “Show your inner beauty. Fly proud and be strong.”
Not only did the faculty, staff and students at WSU participate in the event, but community members from Weber and Davis counties showed a desire to get involved with the program. Merrill said she was pleasantly surprised by the increase of students interested in decorating a bra.
“Students came into the Women’s Center saying, ‘Can we decorate a bra?’ And we had supplies for them, so they could choose from the supplies that we had.”
Merrill said this activity has encouraged WSU faculty, staff and students to pick up the materials.
“The one thing that we have seen is in years past when we have put pamphlets and self-exam information out on tables, students took it, but not very much. This year, with this display, we couldn’t keep up with keeping them stocked. It really is making a difference. People are more aware of the need, and if they did a bra, if they created a bra, they were wearing the buttons and pins to say that there’s hope for breast cancer survivors, and make sure that you get your exams.”
The official website for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM.org, said this month is meant to promote awareness, share information on the disease and provide greater access to services.
Merrill said most people are afraid to get a lump checked out. “Even if they feel a lump, they think, ‘Well, if I don’t get it checked out, maybe it will go away,’ and the reality is breast cancer can happen to men or women of any ages, and if you detect something, get it checked out immediately. Don’t wait until you feel something. Make sure that you get your yearly mammograms, make sure that you go in and have your yearly exams so doctors can examine you, and if you happen to feel something unusual or a little bit different, don’t hesitate and wait till it goes away, because early detection is 100 percent curable.”
Self-examinations and annual physician examinations are vital weapons in combating breast cancer. More information regarding breast cancer, self-examinations and mammograms is available at the WSU Women’s Center.
“I have a really close grandma that had breast cancer,” said Felix Baca, sophomore and communications major. “That was pretty intense. She fought through it and she’s all right now, but she had to go through chemotherapy and stuff for a while. It’s definitely made me want to help out more and be more supportive and make sure everybody is aware. I think it’s important to make sure everyone is aware that it’s a serious disease, and precautions can be taken to help stop or help detect it.”
Baca said he thought the contest was a great way to raise awareness and that he’d be interested in participating in the future.
The Women’s Center intends to make Creative Curves for Cancer into an annual event after the great success it had this year.
As to which foundation the decorative bras will be donated to, Merrill said, “We’re still in conversations with Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Nothing has been decided specifically. We’re looking for a home, and I don’t think we’ll have a problem at all.”