For most of us, October signals the beginning of fall, the return of Homecoming and the re-emergence of pumpkin spice lattes. However, if Besties for Breasties co-presidents Daniel Habashi, ArtSci ’18, and Niki Bayat, ArtSci ’18, achieve their goals, the month of October will also become wholly synonymous with breast cancer support and prevention.
The main objective of Queen’s club Besties for Breasties is to raise awareness and funds in support of breast cancer treatments. According to Habashi, the three-year-old club formed out of a lack of breast cancer education and awareness at Queen’s.
While Besties for Breasties is active year-round, the club’s busiest time of the year occurs in October — a month universally recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This year, the club held numerous on-campus events. This included handing out pink cookies in the ARC, having students sign a large ribbon in support of those fighting breast cancer and staging a pink clothing takeover that nods to the infamous “on Wednesdays, we wear pink” quote from Mean Girls.
The club also made an educational ‘spin and win’ game in which a large wheel was divided into different aspects of breast cancer history. Participants were given the chance to learn about whichever category the wheel landed on.
Another large aspect of Besties for Breasties’ October this year was collecting donations at their various events for Breast Cancer Action Kingston.
“Breast Cancer Action Kingston is a local organization that helps breast cancer patients [in Kingston],” Habashi told The Journal, “and all the money raised goes towards them.”
The funds raised go towards covering Kingston breast cancer patients’ expenses for medication, nutrition, wigs and more.
While grateful to be representing such an important cause, Habashi noted October isn’t necessarily the best time for student engagement at Queen’s.
“October has all the midterms, Homecoming … we tried our hardest to do as much as we can,” he said, “but obviously education comes first.”
With October behind us, Besties for Breasties now looks ahead to organizing more events throughout the year — they aim to have around two or three per semester.
Their biggest event each year is typically a “puppy booth” in which the club brings in dogs to the ARC during midterm season for students to pet with the goal of helping them de-stress while also raising awareness.
Another strategy the club uses to get the word out is partnering with local bars like the Underground or Ale House to sell line skip tickets with proceeds going to Breast Cancer Action Kingston.
Habashi’s short-term goal for Besties for Breasties moving forward is pretty self-explanatory: he wants the club to grow.
“I hope this club can keep going on and get bigger and bigger,” he said. “I hope that if people have some sort of breast cancer affiliation, they can join the club because that would add a whole other layer of experience and value [to what we do].”
The long-term goal is on a much larger worldwide impact.
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women,” Habashi said. “One in nine women will be affected by breast cancer at some point in their lives. Hopefully through the awareness we spread, people will take the disease more seriously and start taking early tests to prevent [its onset].”
To get involved with the club, “like” the Besties for Breasties Facebook page or join the Besties for Breasties 2017-18 Facebook group. To get tested for breast cancer, visit Student Wellness Services on campus or consult your family doctor.
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