Lee Hall Auditorium was decorated with pink balloons, ribbons and pamphlets that served as informative confetti.
Members of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Student Government Association’s Office of the Surgeon General streamed into the auditorium to present the 5th annual “Night Out for Breast Cancer” Tuesday.
The purpose of the event was, “to educate and empower the community through artistic expression,” said Yvette Wilmoth, the mistress of ceremony and member of Delta Sigma Theta.
Night Out was set in different segments based on the four principles important to breast cancer survivors: faith, courage, love and beauty.
Representing the faith principle was Richelle L. Fry, the guest speaker for the evening.
The 43-year-old breast cancer survivor celebrated her first full year of remission Wednesday.
“I was diagnosed at Stage 3 Oct.14, 2003,” Fry said.
Fry approached the podium with her daughter, Rikesha Fry, a graduate education student from Denver, Colo.
Rikesha Fry, who asked her mother to speak at “Night Out, “introduced her mother by telling an emotional story about when the two got the news about the diagnosis.
Rikesha Fry said she went from crying tears of joy about her acceptance to a graduate school at Florida State University to tears of fear about her mother’s news.
Throughout her speech, during which she discussed her diagnosis and treatment, Richelle Fry repeated a passage from the Bible about faith.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen,” Fry said.
“I am an over-comer by faith,” Richelle Fry said as she concluded her speech.
Soloist Khare Hawkins sung a medley of the gospel songs “Stand” and “Total Praise”.
The master of ceremonies Philip Hamilton, a 20-year-old from Miami, asked guests who had purple cards inside of the information packages that were passed out as they walked in to stand. After a large population of the room rose, he announced that the 90 people who were standing represented the number of people who would be diagnosed during the two hours of the event.
Wilmoth dedicated the beauty principle segment to “the beauty we see in their (breast cancer patients) eyes.”
For a special presentation, members of the Relay for Life committee announced its upcoming Nov.10, “Kick Off.”
“We’re going to be having team blitz where teams can come and turn in money, and we are selling relay stars for a dollar,” said Luminaria committee chairperson, Candice Evans.
Between acts, an overhead projector displayed slides of what to look for during self-exams, and citing statistics and reasons why so many women are dying from breast cancer.
The Deltas paid a special tribute to Lawanda Renee Henry, who died in 1999 of breast cancer at the age of 28.
The tribute featured the presentation of two $250 book scholarships.
The first recipient, Courtney Patterson, a junior pharmacy student from Jacksonville,Fla. said she is really passionate about educating black people about health.
“We live in a world where doctors don’t have the time to educate them, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m in pharmacy,” she said.
Patterson, who volunteers at the Neighborhood Health Services in Frenchtown, said breast cancer is also a personal issue.
“My grandmother died of ovarian cancer,” Patterson said.
This year, the Deltas also awarded a male student for the best essay about prostate cancer.
Hamilton was the male recipient.
The junior pharmacy student said people are not going to get tested and “that’s what is killing us.”
The courage segment featured spoken word by Rudy Jean-Bart and a violin and dance collaboration with Amber Saunders and LaShawnda Batts.
Some students said the event was very informative.
“I learned a lot about Ms. Henry and I hope we continue this event,” said Torey Alston, a 20-year-old junior business administration student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
George Olokun, 20, agreed.
“I learned and then some, it made me realize that I could be touched by breast cancer and it can affect you in college,” said the junior pharmacy/pre-law student from Atlanta.
Crystal Smith, also a member of the sorority, advised students to get tested early.
“If it’s in your family, start getting tested at 20 because it is starting to develop in black people at age 18,” said the 21-year-old business administration senior from Charlotte, N.C.
LaMonica Orr, 21, a senior political science student from Houston, Texas, and Beta Alpha president, said they tried to make the event an educational, yet entertaining experience that would draw all kinds of crowds.
“The main thing was making people aware through slideshows and through people,” Orr said.
Contact Diamond Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.