One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. For some, that one might be a woman they vaguely know from past encounters. That one might be a friend of a friend, old teacher or distant relative. But in some circumstances, that one might be as close as a mother.
For junior accounting major Laura Ritcheson, that one was her mother. Ritcheson’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001 and has been in remission for 13 years.
“As a kid, I remember going to walks, runs and other events with my mom, and I always saw girls there volunteering,” she said. “I wasn’t always quite sure what they were doing or what was going on, but what stuck was the work and support they offered. I loved how happy it made patients and survivors to know that they were cared about.”
After joining Zeta Tau Alpha, whose philanthropy is breast cancer education and awareness, Ritcheson quickly saw how events like Think Pink Week can cultivate the encouraging environment she witnessed as a kid alongside her mom.
Through hosting events, encouraging campus involvement and spreading the importance of self-awareness, ZTA is not only raising money for their affiliated philanthropy, but also striving to impact the lives of patients and families. Since breast cancer is a common disease, chances are that every Union student at least knows of someone whose life has been changed by the process of fighting the breast cancer battle.
“Think Pink Week should be important to Union students because any step of action they take can make a difference. Whether you’re donating money, writing encouraging notes or just standing in the corner of an event, any ounce of support goes miles with those affected by breast cancer,” Ritcheson said.
ZTA has “pinked out” the campus with informational posters, written cards to patients at the Kirkland Cancer Center and hosted a Glow Zumba fundraiser. “Bounce Away Breast Cancer” will be held Thursday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at Skyzone, offering students discounted tickets. A portion of each ticket will be donated directly to breast cancer education and awareness.
ZTA will be assisting with the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk on Saturday morning at Jackson Generals Park. The walk is hosted by American Cancer Society Making Strides of West Tennessee.
“Coming together as a chapter to raise money and awareness and getting to show love and support to this community makes my heart happy. Think Pink Week is just one week to highlight what we are passionate about year-round,” Kassie Medlin, education major and Zeta Tau Alpha philanthropy chair, said.
Although ZTA relies on Think Pink Week to promote most of their fundraisers for the cause, the chapter is active throughout the school year in helping to make a difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. Think Pink Week is a chance for Union students to get involved in the fight.