Zeta Tau Alpha dives into October with big hopes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Photo by Eric Weiss
Photo by Eric Weiss

October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Zeta Tau Alpha, commonly referred to as Zeta, packed the month full of events to fundraise to reach their goal of $60,000 and increase awareness

Last week Zeta girls sold T-shirts, hosted a Bright Pink workshop to promote self-examinations, and dedicated a flower ceremony to survivors or people who lost their battle to breast cancer.

Erin Scheithe, a Bright Pink spokeswoman and a survivor of breast cancer, spoke to about 150 young women Oct. 10 about her relationship with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Scheithe was diagnosed at 34 years old with stage double negative breast cancer. She proceeded to have a double mastectomy and then was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which was caused by the chemotherapy.

Fortunately, she is cancer free and is able to share her experiences and spread awareness. She encouraged the young women to sign up for a monthly self-examination reminder sponsored by Bright Pink. This reminder is the reason Scheithe first discovered she had breast cancer, which has led to her being a strong advocate for these self-examination reminders.

Vicki Lee, a junior, attended the workshop and was comforted by the monthly reminders. Her aunt rarely performed self-examinations or received mammograms, and went in to get a check up one day when she felt some pain. The pain had been caused by a breast cancer tumor.

“You don’t think about that everyday, so getting reminders to do that feels reassuring and the appropriate step to take to keep up with my body,” Lee said.

Lee was excited to help her roommates, who were unable to attend the workshop, sign up for these monthly reminders.

This workshop started off the week and led into the flower release ceremony last Wednesday. Zeta girls provided flowers to students to release into the fountain on the mall for those they have lost to breast cancer or to survivors.

Morgan Doherty, a junior and member of Zeta, didn’t release a flower for anyone specific, but explained how important this event is to their philanthropy and sorority.

“It’s a very peaceful event and reminds us of the people that we have lost and why we devote so much of our time and energy to this cause,” Doherty said.

Doherty’s favorite events for this month are the ribboning events and their main philanthropy event, Breastfest of Champions on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Zeta has been passing out pink ribbons that say “ZTA” and “Think Pink” on them at sporting events like the women’s soccer game, the football game and the women’s volleyball game. Additionally, they are also passing out ribbons at the Ravens’ and Redskins’ games.

Photo by Eric Weiss
Photo by Eric Weiss

“It’s great to actually go outside the college campus and meet survivors and spread awareness to people who don’t know about breast cancer or aren’t aware that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said Doherty.

Zeta has partnered with the fraternity Kappa Alpha Order, commonly known as KA, for Breastfest of Champions. The event brings together the Greek community through food, raffles and music. It is one of the big contributors to their fundraising and they hope to raise more than last year.

Colleen Connolly, the directory of philanthropy at Zeta, is dedicated to raising as much as possible, but explained that in the end that’s not the purpose of this month.

“It’s not about the number but the fact that we keep this tradition every year to honor survivors, ones lost and hope we can help fund research, educate young women and spread awareness to the UMD community.”

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