Group holds cancer, domestic violence seminar

Candlelight hit the face of a former domestic violence victim as she spoke to a crowd during the second annual Pink and Purple Seminar. The seminar, hosted by Kappa Psi Psi Healthcare Sorority, Inc., dealt with both breast cancer and domestic violence awareness.

Natalie Johnson, former domestic abuse victim, was one of many speakers at Thursday night’s seminar who shared stories, answered questions and offered advice to attendees.

The sorority’s seminar, “Detect the Lump, Suppress the Bump,” was created in an effort to follow the organization’s mission to promote healthcare activities.

“We try to address issues that are current. October is domestic violence awareness and breast cancer awareness month,” said Christina Hill, 21, the sorority’s president.

Johnson, one of two women who spoke during the domestic violence portion of the seminar, addressed the audience candidly as she told them of her two-year relationship with a violent man.

She advised women to pay attention to early signals of behavior to come.

“Don’t ignore signs in the beginning,” she said. “Look at the signs. The smallest signs can be your way out.”

The 23-year-old healthcare administration student from Miami advised the audience not to force relationships that do not fit. “Just think before you act, and pray before you say I love you.”

Brandie Luther, another speaker on domestic violence, shared her experiences and explained that domestic violence is not only a female problem.

“It can happen to anyone – man, woman, child,” she said.

Luther said that simply keeping a person from staying in touch with friends and family can be considered a form of domestic violence because he or she has nowhere to turn for help.

Throughout the evening, poets recited original poems about domestic violence and breast cancer. One student emotionally recited an original poem based on her own experience with finding a lump in her breast titled “My First Self-Breast Exam.”

Betty Luther, a licensed practical nurse at Tallahassee’s veteran’s clinic and a medical minister at Christian Heritage Church, began the breast cancer awareness segment of the program by stressing the importance of self-examinations in the early detection of breast cancer.

“Breast cancer can be controlled if it’s found, but early detection is life,” she said.

She demonstrated and explained the three-point pressure, a technique used in self-examinations to find lumps.

“Most lumps are not cancerous,” Luther said, “but still have them checked.”

She tried to clear misconceptions audience members may have had.

“I learned some things that I didn’t know about,” said Devin Miles, a third-year business student from Houston. “I didn’t know every lump wasn’t cancerous.”

Luther also addressed the men in the audience. She informed them that men are also victims of breast cancer.

According to a report Luther read by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, each year, 1,600 men nationally are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 400 are predicted to die.

“My grandfather died from breast cancer,” said Hill, a senior nursing student from Crestview. “I think it’s equally important that light is shone on this.”

Hill said the sorority was originally founded at Florida A&M University in 1997 and is continuously trying to promote healthcare activities for students on and off campus.