QU’s Women Empowered holds breast cancer awareness event for Yale New Haven Hospital patients

David Matos, Arts & Life Editor

Photo by (David Matos)

Pink streamers decorated the walls while songs by influential women like Taylor Swift and Beyonce echoed Quinnipiac University’s Carl Hansen Student Center Piazza at Women Empowered’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event on Oct. 19.

Quinnipiac’s WE chapter held a night full of cookie decorating and card-making for breast cancer patients at Yale New Haven Hospital in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“This is an event to bring more awareness to people struggling with breast cancer, and we wanted to support them in any way we could,” said Jennie Coleman, a sophomore 3+1 applied business major and WE president.

According to the  American Cancer Society, there were over 3,000 new cases of breast cancer in Connecticut women in 2019, the highest number of new cancer cases within the state. According to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight women will develop the form of cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in the U.S.

“I would say that awareness is the first step to progress because the more people are aware, the more people will donate or step up,” said Emmaleigh Halbert, a junior health science studies major and WE event coordinator. “We have a wonderful health science program here, and the more people that are interested in this topic, we can have more progress to solving the issue and helping people who are suffering with (breast) cancer.”

Kylie Ameika, a sophomore nursing major and chair of inter-organizational relations for WE, came up with the idea to host a breast cancer awareness event and send letters to breast cancer patients. Her mother, who works at Yale New Haven Hospital on the Yale Saint Raphael’s campus in the outpatient surgery unit, knows doctors and nurses who work with breast cancer patients. After the event, Ameika gave the letters created by students to her mother who then brought them to patients.

“We had that connection and realized that would be a great idea to just send letters over there, and because I can’t even imagine what they’re going through they need some sort of support,” Halbert said. “I mean, obviously, they have their family. But seeing that people in the community, and Quinnipiac students are there for them — we thought that was a great idea.”

Aside from hosting this event, WE’s director of marketing, Emma Williams, a junior 3+1 film, television and media arts major, is utilizing  Instagram to bring more awareness to the cause through a social media campaign.

“She has created a few different posts,” Coleman said. “One of which includes facts about breast cancer, and then also a link to (American Cancer Society) where people can send their donations for people with breast cancer.”

Students who came out to the event wrote letters in colorful ink with powerful messages like “stay strong” or “Pink is my power color” for breast cancer patients while enjoying free pizza from Eli’s Brick Oven Pizza and decorating cookies purchased from BJ’s Wholesale Club to enjoy or take home.

“I came out here to support females that are struggling with breast cancer and to have fun with my roommates,” said Zoey Nadal, a  first-year 3+3 health science studies major in the physical therapy program.

One of the other highlights for students at the event was the all-female playlist curated by WE secretary Rebecca Huyck, a first-year interdisciplinary studies major, who wanted to create a soundtrack to spotlight women from a multitude of different backgrounds and cultures, like Doja Cat and Lady Gaga, for example.

“I definitely wanted to focus on songs made by female artists and especially female empowerment,” Huyck said.

Caitlin Bradshaw, a first-year interdisciplinary studies major, alongside her friends Alex Casale, a freshman occupational therapy major, and Ava Mills, a first-year nursing major, attended the event to encourage breast cancer awareness.

“It’s a very good event for awareness and I know people that have breast cancer, and some that have passed away,” Casale said.