UK community sees pink

By Chase Sanders

During the month of October, UK will see pink.

The UK community is getting involved in a variety of ways to show support during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It is the second-largest type of cancer in the U.S. behind skin cancer, and it is the second-largest cancer killler after lung cancer.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Lexington branch of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation will hold its 15th annual Race for the Cure.

It will take place at CentrePointe in downtown Lexington.

According to their website, the national branch of the Susan G. Komen Foundation was founded in 1982 and has raised almost $2 billion to fight breast cancer.

The event is the most recognized event of the year for the foundation.

However, the Komen Foundation has year-round opportunities for people to contribute to fundraising to find a cure for breast cancer.

Proceeds made from race registration and other events will go toward, among other things, helping patients with treatments who can’t afford it, education for breast cancer and research.

Kelsey Ryan, a marketing senior, will participate in this year’s Komen Race for the Cure.

Ryan has been an active contributor in the fight against cancer for years.

“In the past, I have always participated in the Race for the Cure with my family,” Ryan said.

She decided to take on the personal responsibility of extending charity on her own this year.

“I have heard more about breast cancer awareness this October and wanted to get involved again,” Ryan said.

When Ryan was younger, her mother’s best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Kathy had been fighting it for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Even when her medicine quit working she never gave up and she even tried experimental treatments.”

One characteristic Ryan remembers most about Kathy was her courageousness.

“I knew that she was sick, but I never heard her complain about how terrible she must have felt,” Ryan said.

She said she didn’t initially understand the severity of her loved one’s disease.

“At the time, I didn’t grasp how serious breast cancer was,” she said. “After all, she was young and looked healthy.”

When Ryan was a freshman in high school, Kathy died after years of fighting breast cancer.

“Even though she lost her battle, she was able to raise awareness and give other people struggling with the disease hope,” Ryan said.

Kathy’s legacy lives on now through Ryan. She wants to contribute what she can to heighten awareness about the disease, she said.

Ryan understands that “awareness and early detection can help save lives,” she said. “(It is) important for me to raise awareness about breast cancer, because so many people are touched by this disease—even people in college.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, UK sorority members, including Ryan, were given the opportunity to attend an educational discussion on campus, titled “Feel Your Boobies.”

UK HealthCare Nurse Practitioner Joanne Brown led the campaign for the second year in a row.

“Particularly, I hope young women will become familiar with their own bodies so they’re able to notice changes,” she said.

She stressed the importance of doing self-examinations. “It’s better to know how to detect breast cancer earlier,” Brown said. “The most important thing is for them to know how it normally feels.”

She noted that if women commit to a healthy lifestyle they can greatly reduce their chances of contracting breast cancer.

“Being physically active, exercising 30 minutes daily, limiting alcohol, eating fruits and vegetables and not smoking will significantly lower their risks of getting the disease,” Brown said.

Team registration for the Race for the Cure is closed, but individuals can still sign up.

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