As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, students at Texas A&M University-San Antonio wrote heartfelt letters to breast cancer patients and survivors.
The sweet and colorful letters will reach patients once the Campus Activities Board partners with a women’s clinic, said student event coordinator Alyssa Lilly.
The letter-writing campaign on Oct. 2 helped launch Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Campus Activities Board has organized other Pink Out events each Wednesday to raise awareness on campus.
Lilly said she was surprised by the turnout and said they even extended the event because people were putting a lot of effort and time into their letters.
“Most people weren’t doing it for a prize or a hat. They were actually doing it, to do it. We had a woman who wrote to her mom,” Martinez said.
Lilly said the best way to raise awareness is education and support.
“A lot of people know that cancer is a very serious thing to go through, and that it affects a lot of people, but (it’s) being there to support each other and learning as much as you can,” Lilly said.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation in San Antonio found that African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to find their cancer at a later stage and as a result, their survival chances are reduced. Meanwhile, 26 percent of women age 40 to 64 in the university’s ZIP code, 78224, have no insurance. This means that if they are diagnosed they might struggle or be unable to pay for their treatments, according to the foundation’s report from 2015.
This campus has a large Hispanic population — 70 percent of students are Hispanic or Latino, according to the university’s “Fast Facts” page online.
Breast cancer is likely to touch the lives of many students, employees or their loved ones, Lilly said. That helped spark the idea for writing letters.
Other events include:
- a Pink Out Zumba class 6-7 p.m., hosted by the Campus Activities Board and the Rec Sports Center, Oct. 23 on the West Lawn.
- a final Pink Out event Oct. 30 to be announced on JagSync.
- a Lip-Sync Battle and Costume Contest 11:30 a.m. to 1p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 in the Auditorium. For five dollars, join the contest or join the audience. All proceeds go to charities, including Susan G. Komen San Antonio and Breast Cancer Charities of America.
Event coordinator Rafael Villegas, whose mother had breast cancer, feels a personal connection to these events.
“All you can do is be there for them and try to support them as much as you can,” Viegas said
The event coordinators invite students to provide feedback and opinions on the events, as well as to voice any ideas for new events, Villegas said. The Campus Activities Board holds regular meetings and students are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts and ideas. The next Campus Activities Board meeting is at 4 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Ceremony Room at the Patriots’ Casa.