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Rutgers paints The Yard pink for breast cancer awareness month

During the “PinkOUT” event, the Rutgers community participated in Zumba tutorials to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. – Photo by Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez | and Dimitri Rodriguez The Daily Targum

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to the RWJBarnabas Health website.

In a joint effort to battle breast cancer, The Yard @ College Avenue was donned pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month along with other sponsors. Together, they hosted "PinkOUT" on Oct. 20.

Ryan Stevens, a clinical supervisor of Athletic Training and Wellness at RWJBarnabas Health, said the event was to help raise awareness about breast cancer. 

“So you know, we got homecoming weekend this weekend and RWJBarnabas Health is a principal sponsor of Rutgers Athletics and Rutgers University, so it’s a natural collaboration to try and raise awareness for breast cancer awareness month,” he said. 

Taking ownership of one's health, making healthy choices and taking ownership of the things that are controllable in life can make a positive impact in the future, he said. 

“Whether you’re extremely healthy or you are dealing with something personally, you have to take ownership of what you got going on. There’s stuff that goes on on a daily basis that comes unexpected,” he said. “But the reality is, there’s also a lot of stuff happening in life that we can control. Every healthy choice you make, every workout you attend, every healthy meal you eat is a dedication to your future self. And by taking ownership of that, you can really make a positive impact on your future."

Director of Marketing Operations Rachael Fonseca said the objective is raising community awareness together, something that everybody can do, in a fun setting. 

“If you notice outside, there’s everybody from college students, there are some kids that look they are as young as 7 and all the way up to some older folks as well,” she said.

Fonseca said any indicating signs of cancer that are found early will put someone in a much better spot down the road in terms of treatment.  

“We’re looking to make sure that women need to get out and get mammograms,” she said. “If you’re over 40 now's the time, you can go out and schedule yours today. If you’re under 40 but have a loved one that might be hesitant or hasn’t gotten her annual mammogram, you really should push her because preventative medicine is really the best kind.” 

Jeniffer Caba, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, attended with her organization Sigma Lambda Upsilon because the cause is important to her and to support the sponsors that put together the event. 

“It is a cause I hold close to my heart,” she said. “My grandmother, who raised me, fought breast cancer bravely for 5 years. She was in and out of remission, but unfortunately, it came back stronger and she lost her fight. I remember the strength during her fight and use it as motivation to help raise awareness for women's health.”

While sharing her grandmother’s fight story, she said it is important to raise awareness about the illness.

“It is important for everyone to have an understanding of this illness and show support to those who are currently living it,” she said. “I was excited for the large turnout and was glad to see so many people uniting for greater efforts, despite ... our differences.”

Hayley Cattonar, director of Philanthropy and Service of Zeta Tau Alpha and a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said the goal of the sorority's sponsorship of the event is to raise awareness and educate people within the Rutgers community. 

“(Our) ultimate goal was to ultimately spread awareness about breast cancer by handing out our little (Zeta Tau Alpha) pink ribbons while also promoting our philanthropy, Breast Cancer Education and Awareness,” she said. 

Throughout the month, Zeta Tau Alpha organized other events focused on breast cancer awareness, she said. 

“We had 'Think Pink Week' the first week of October where we had an all pink bake sale, RU Grill fundraiser, 'Think Pink' information tabling, 'Boutique Night' and a 'Think Pink' brunch where we had a survivor come and speak to our chapter and invited all of our sister’s family survivors," Cattonar said. “We also had a house decorating competition for the (Interfraternity Council) and Panhellenic chapters within the greek community where each house decorated their houses in as much pink as they could to help promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

The "PinkOUT" ended with an hour-long Zumba session with the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center. Anielka Reyes, a Rutgers alumna and Zumba instructor, said they wanted to come together as a community to provide support. 

“People are intimidated when it comes to working out at a gym. They aren’t familiar with the various classes offered and limit themselves due to this,” she said. “However, we want them to know that there’s a class out there that meets their needs and skill level but most importantly their goal and style. We would like to help support them throughout their fitness journey.”

Christian Thomas, a group fitness manager at the RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center, said after patients have received treatment, they have support in the community.  

"For most patients, after their treatment of breast cancer they do not know what to do when it comes to exercise," she said. "These type of events help give them guidance and raise awareness about the importance of exercise and a safe approach."

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