By Rebecca Flannery
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but a new club on campus is fighting to raise money year-round for the cause.
Flower Mound senior Brooks Byers, president of the club, started Bears Against Breast Cancer this semester after he discovered the Susan G. Komen Central Texas office needed ambassadors.
“I heard that the executive director of Susan G. Komen Central Texas wanted someone to start a group on campus that could raise money and find new volunteers for Komen,” Byers said. “I jumped at the opportunity.”
Perris, Calif., sophomore Annie Pirrello, vice president of fundraising initiatives for the club, said this month’s first event for breast cancer awareness was Bear Cub Games. More than 60 participants paid to be part of the field day, raising more than $550 for the cause while playing games.
Pirrello said the club has plans to host bake sales and blanket drives this year to increase its fundraising.
“Blankets are a big deal when people are going through chemo,” Pirrello said. “They are really cold all the time, so we’ve considered doing a drive for that.”
The club directly donates all funds raised to the Susan G. Komen Central Texas office, Pirrello said.
“The Central Texas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was established in 2000 to spread the life-saving message of early detection and to support breast cancer screening and education programs in Central Texas,” according to the organization’s website.
Universal City sophomore Raejone Lucas, vice president of marketing for the club, said Bears Against Breast Cancer is looking to expand its presence on campus.
“We’re still trying to grow the club,” Lucas said. “We’d love to be able to get big enough to hold larger events and help people diagnosed in the community of Waco.”
Pirrello, Byers and Lucas said the disease the club raises awareness for has affected their own families. Byers’ mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all diagnosed with breast cancer. Pirrello’s grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer and Lucas’ grandmother and mother were diagnosed. Both Byers’ and Lucas’ mothers are survivors.
“I think that’s one of the things that’s really important about Bears Against Breast Cancer,” Pirrello said. “It takes what was a really difficult time and negative experience in people’s lives and turns it into making that easier for other people.”
Byers said the club aims to raise awareness and money on a grander scale than a weekly meeting with members. Anyone is welcome to join the club and no dues are required. Because other students also have family members or family friends who have had breast cancer, interest in the club is evident, Byers said.
“There aren’t regular opportunities to volunteer for Komen week in and week out, but fighting cancer is something that a lot of students at Baylor are passionate about,” Byers said. “Bears Against Breast Cancer gives students a chance to plan and participate in events that engage the Baylor community while raising money and awareness.”
For those interested in joining Bears Against Breast Cancer, email Brooks_Byers@baylor.edu.
There will be an interest meeting held at 5 p.m. Sunday in room 306 Cashion Academic Center