Breast cancer awareness month
October 6, 2017
The month of October is full of all things Halloween and football for many people, but it also happens to be the designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month; where we honor and celebrate those who have fought breast cancer, as well as remembering those who have passed away from it.
Westside helps support Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting pink-out games for volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, etc. In the past we have taken time out of those specific games to remember as well as support those who have gone through breast cancer.
Principal Jay Opperman believes that the involvement Westside has with Breast Cancer Awareness Month is more student led.
“As a whole school I’m not very conscious as to what we have done, part of that is me still being the new guy,” Opperman said. “My knowledge is that student groups have been more involved in it, and I really like that.”
Opperman is also appreciative of the student groups that recognize and get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I have people in my life that have fought both breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer,” Opperman said. “I appreciate that there are groups that are willing to do things that recognize it and support it.”
Many students at Westside spoke about certain relatives and close family friends who had struggled with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and has an average survival rate of anywhere from 83-90%.
Around 6 years ago, Freshman Jillian Alston’s mother unfortunately passed away from breast cancer.
Alston was only eight at the time her mother was going through breast cancer and didn’t know much about what was happening.
“I was pretty young so I don’t think I really understood it,” Alston said. “But looking back, it really changed some things.”
The longer her mother was going through cancer, the more involved Alston’s family became towards breast cancer based activities.
“We began to participate in stuff like activities and fundraisers,” Alston said. “My mom was still a really active person, so [the cancer] didn’t change too much, but we went on more walks to help end breast cancer.”
Growing up for several years without a mother has affected Alston’s day to day life.
“I guess I just wish I had more time with her. Not having a mom, not having that type of guidance really affects me,” Alston said. “Just the thought of her each day, and not having her to do stuff with has been hard.”
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Alston feels different.
“I feel a little more supported; by having a month honoring those who have gone through breast cancer.” Alston said.
Both Alston as well as Opperman have advice for others that have loved ones battling cancer, or struggling with the loss of one due to cancer.
“Working so closely with a survivor, I’m very aware of the need for a network of support, whether that’s families or organizations,” Opperman said. “Both for the person struggling with it, and for their close family members. They both need support.”
“If you know a person with breast cancer or any type of cancer, definitely spend more time with them,” Alston said. “If they do pass away, hang in there, it’ll be okay, it’ll get better.”