The SGA Office of the Surgeon General closed out National Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting the Pink Tie Ball, a formal attire event focused around breast cancer awareness Friday at the Southwood House.
Florida A&M students enjoyed dinner and a live band during a program that featured facts about breast cancer and testimonials from cancer survivors. There was also a silent auction held for paintings and FAMU paraphernalia to raise funds for breast cancer research.
Whitney Moore, 21, a third-year pharmacy student from Tallahassee heads the Office of the Surgeon General and said programs such as the Pink Tie Ball are important because it supplies information that the community at large may not be aware of.
“African-Americans aren’t always provided knowledge [in health matters],” Moore said.
“More Black women die from breast cancer because they don’t get diagnosed and treated early enough.”because they don’t get diagnosed and treated early enough.”
According to an article published on Forbes magazine’s Web site, “Almost 25 percent of black women with advanced breast cancer refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments that could save their lives.”
The article also said that black women have twice the rate of breast cancer as their white counterparts, and that fear of the medical system and poverty are factors in their reluctance to treatment.
Moore also said the event was special because it was student-run and operated, and that the support of college-aged people is important in the cause.
“Almost everyone from the band, to the audience and the speakers were students talking about a health issue that affects the whole community,” she said. “I hope the community sees that FAMU students are concerned and hopefully they will take this information back to their families and keep spreading it.”
Nayendra DaBresil, 21, the deputy of the Office of the Surgeon General, said the purpose of the ball was to help celebrate those who have survived breast cancer and to commemorate those we have lost.
The senior biology student from Miami agrees that students should be involved and informed when it comes to breast cancer.
“A lot of young people believe [breast cancer] won’t affect them, or they think they’re too young to get it,” DaBresil said.
DaBresil encourages all women over the age of 18 to have mammograms and asks that men make their female family members and friends aware of these tests and treatments.
The survivors who were present shared their stories about struggling with the disease, how it affected their lives and told the audience how breast cancer afflicts blacks of all ages.
Anna Morales Black, 48, said she lost her job shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2008, but was still able to pay for treatment. Black said that her faith is what gave her confidence through the ordeal.
“I believe [being unemployed during treatment] was God’s way of saying ‘I’m going to take care of you’,” Black said.
She said that when her resources were running low, a sudden change came in the form of a new job opportunity.
“I was unemployed until my last chemotherapy treatment on Dec. 12th,” she said. “On Dec. 15th, I signed on to teach Spanish at New Beginnings Early Childhood Development Center.”
Black thinks that her family and keeping perspective kept her confident throughout the strenuous treatment that had some side effects.
“I lost my hair, but I was OK because I had life,” Black said.