When I was 33 years old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I found my lump by feeling my boobies,” said Leigh Hurst, founder of the Feel Your Boobies Foundation, at the event held in the KAV Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
The event, in conjunction with the Feel Your Boobies Foundation and Elizabethtown College’s Colleges Against Cancer club (CAC) was entitled “Bras Across Campus.” Its primary goal was to educate students on the importance of becoming familiar with one’s body in order to catch cancer at it’s early stages, which in turn, required them to feel their boobies.
“Bras Across Campus” is a pilot program started at Etown by the Feel Your Boobies Foundation. Its focus was to educate students and provide a visual reminder that no matter one’s age or medical history, they too can contract breast cancer.
The program calls for a student run organization, which in this case was CAC, to collect bras from the students on campus and then string them together to create a bra chain. This year, the chain consisted of 150 donated bras and stretched the entire perimeter of the KAV. CAC plans to donate all of the bras to a charity, which will then distribute them to those in need.
The event began by the attendees being instructed to look at the back of their seats for a pink sticky-note. The students sitting at those seats were asked to stand to provide a visual representation that one in eight people will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
A moment of silence was then held to honor former Associate Director of Admissions and CAC advisor Debra H. Murray’s recent passing.
Students next watched a video made by the Feel Your Boobies Foundation expressing many different young women’s battle with breast cancer and how they overcame it.
“The main thing I took away from this video was the repetition of the word ‘invincibility,’” senior Morgan Chambers, student facilitator of the event, said. “We are not invincible, and we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our health.”
After the video, Hurst spoke about her story. “I was living the dream,” she said. “I had a great job and a great life in the city, but something was calling me back to my hometown in Pennsylvania. Six months after I moved back, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Hurst explained that many doctors told her what she was feeling in her breasts was “nothing to worry about,” but it was when she took matters into her own hands and went for a mammogram, that she discovered she was right the whole time.
“Knowing your body is the best way to test,” Hurst went on. “I knew something felt abnormal, and that’s what Feel Your Boobies is all about—knowing yourself.”
Dr. Lisa Torp of the Pinnacle Health Breast Cancer Institute in Harrisburg also spoke regarding the medical side of breast cancer development and awareness, stressing that there is no wrong way to conduct a breast exam.
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too young to get breast cancer. Be persistent. Be your own advocate,” Torp stated.
She also explained that, although less common, men can develop breast cancer as well and should also look for the signs.
“I originally came to the event because I am a part of CAC and wanted to support a cause I feel passionate about, but what struck me was the number of men who develop breast cancer every year, and it really changed my perspective,” junior accounting major Tommy Hopkins explained.
CAC also held a fundraiser before the event to raise money for the Feel Your Boobies Foundation. With cooperation from other groups on campus, they surpassed their initial goal of 500 dollars, raising a total of 1,500 dollars. They also exceeded their goal of having 50 participants, with 84 by the time of the event.
For more information about the Feel Your Boobies Foundation, or to donate, visit feelyourboobies.com. For more information, or to join Colleges Against Cancer at Etown, email email@example.com.