by Nalie Frederick
ST. CROIX—Dozens of University of the Virgin Islands students wore pink and marched down the university’s Palm Drive in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Week. The Seventh-Day Adventist Pulse Drum Corp band led students along with faculty, alumni and a few from the general public down Palm Drive. Speakers and food were at the pavilion where the march ended.
University Professor David Capriola opened the march with a speech and a moment of silence for breast cancer survivors, people who are fighting the disease, and those affected by it. Capriola and participants wore pink to show their support. They wore wigs, shirts, pants, shoes and other pink merchandise.
The University’s Art Club created a large banner with words of encouragement and a painting of a woman wrapped in a pink ribbon. It was held proudly as they danced their way down Palm Drive. You could hear the marching band on the opposite side of campus and attracted those who weren’t in the march to start waving and dancing in support of the cause.
The Delta M. Jackson Dorsch Complex was fully decorated outside showing the residence hall’s support for breast cancer. Each year the residents and housing faculty decorate to promote breast cancer awareness. This year as the participants marched, residents stood in front of the halls dancing, waving and smiling at them.
“She was a close and dear friend to many in the community. Today we honor our long-time survivor and close friend, Minister Leonora Garcia, who recently lost her battle in February,” School nurse Maritza Decosta said.
She advised the crowd to practice monthly breast exams and visit physicians to check for early detection as a prevention method. She believes that early detection is the cure to surviving the disease.
Each year the Breast Cancer Awareness Committee of UVI honors those who battle the disease and gives support to the family and friends of those who have lost someone.
The goal of the event to inform the university of the importance of breast cancer was quite successful. Dozens of breast cancer supporters came out to help spread awareness. Maria Friday, administrative specialist at the residence hall, got emotional while giving her opening speech at the pavilion on the importance of support.
“Give your support, you cannot wait for it to be you,” Friday said.
Trisha Armstrong and her mother Teresa Armstrong were among the supporters. They were passing the stop light when they saw the band, banner and pink hair so they decided to park at the RT Park and join.
Trisha shared the loss of her aunt two years ago when asked why they chose to join the march. Teresa said it felt like a sign from her sister to see pink everywhere as people supported the same issue they experience.
“My sister spent seven years of her life beating this disease and she was strong. She lost another battle two years ago and each year in the month of October it’s hard for us but this is exactly what both my daughter and I needed this morning,” Teresa said.
The breast cancer committee has a week of events scheduled to provide awareness.
Events at the university continued with:
*Tuesday- Pink shoe day at 11:30 a.m. Breast-self-examination demonstration in the pavilion
*Wednesday- Pink hair day at 11:30 a.m. wellness meditation in the pavilion
*Thursday- Pink tie or shirt day
*Friday- Pink everything day and Pink Party at 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the pavilion
For more information on the activities and breast cancer contact Health Services Coordinator at the University
Maritza Decosta at (340) 692-4208.