Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kayettes raise cancer awareness

October 11, 2007

With the month of October comes leaves changing into fall colors, pumpkin patches overflowing and scary Halloween costumes, but it is also a time to bring awareness to a cause that has affected so many lives.

Breast Cancer Awareness month has begun and the Kayettes of Lansing High School are once again on a mission to raise money to find a cure for a disease that takes thousands of lives each year.

To get things started, the Kayettes invited Cheryl Rader, a fifth-grade teacher at Lansing Intermediate School, to share her experiences with both breast and ovarian cancer. Not only has Rader battled cancer herself, she's watched her mother and sister die from the disease.

She began by urging the girls to speak with every woman in their lives about the importance of mammograms. The key to survival is early detection, and Rader said that can only happen if women are diligent with their exams.

Rader said she never remembered her mother getting mammograms, so when the lump in her breast was finally found there wasn't much that could be done. In the 28 years between her mother's death and her own diagnosis with cancer, Rader said tremendous strides had been made.

"I was given hope," Rader said while tears began to fill her eyes, "while (my mother) was not given any."

She said the work the Kayettes have done to raise money for a cure is an important effort but reminded them that knowledge is power and it is every woman's responsibility to pay close attention to their breast health.

"Maybe in your lifetime there will be a cure, but in the meantime, please take care of yourself," Rader said looking out over the solemn faces of young women whose futures are still unknown. But Rader added the students at least could still have the hope her mother didn't if they refuse to bury their head in the sand and ignore this disease.

For Jennifer Totleben, a sophomore at LHS, the experiences shared by Rader were helpful and connected with her own life. Both of Totleben's grandmothers and her mother are cancer survivors.

"It's always been something that I've really been affected by and been connected with," Totleben said. "It's always been a cause close to my heart."

On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Kayettes will set up a table at the Autumn in the Grove festival. Senior Rachel Brackett said the Kayettes' table will contain brochures of information about breast cancer.

Then on Oct. 25 and 26, the Kayettes will go door-to-door in their annual Trick-or-Treat for Breast Cancer Research. Volunteers will have pink pumpkins and will ask for donations for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Brackett said this year the Kayettes are hoping to top the $1,000 they raised last year. She said she is sure the community will respond because breast cancer is a disease that has affected so many close to home.

"It's a major thing that a lot of people have breast cancer," she said, "and it's a problem that people need to be aware of so we can help find a cure."

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