Breastival/Testival strives to take fear out of cancer

Mercyhurst College is teaming up with UPMC Hamot to bring awareness to the college community about breast and testicular cancers.

This cancer education event, titled Breastival/Testival, will take place Wednesday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Mercyhurst Athletic Center.

The festival is open to students, faculty and staff, and will have 20 different stations where people can learn about cancer. There will also be a DJ, games, food, t-shirts, Chinese auction and prizes. The grand prize is a 26-inch Vizio high-definition television.

John Hopkins University created the Breastival and it has since been adopted by UPMC Hamot, which later added a Testival to the event. Each year, UPMC Hamot teams up with a different area college to host the Breastival/Testival. The majority of the funding for the event is a grant provided by the American Cancer Society.

The committee organizing the event consists of staff from UPMC Hamot; Judy Smith, Ph.D., the college’s executive director of wellness; Sarah Allen, assistant director for the Center for Student Engagement & Leadership Development; Mary Ann Lubiejewski, Mercyhurst North East assistant professor of the nursing program and second-year Mercyhurst North East nursing students.

“We are extremely excited about the event,” Smith said. “We think the students and others who attend will have a blast and, at the same time, (are) going to learn information that’ll leave them better educated about cancer.”

Breastival/Testival is meant to take the fear out of cancer. It is a fun, educational event that will leave students informed and unafraid of the disease.

“Cancer remains a disease people are very frightened about, but particularly with early detection, breast cancer and testicular cancer are very treatable,” Smith added.

Students are encouraged to come and go between classes.

“I feel that students who attend this event will come away with great information and knowledge with regards to breast and testicular cancer,” Allen said. “Early prevention and detection is key for everyone, so everyone should attend!”

“Every year when we read the surveys from the event we are amazed at how appreciative the attendees are regarding the information they received. We have been very fortunate each year to work with great representatives from each of the local colleges/universities who feel this is just as important as we do,” said Kathy Vitale RN, Director of Operations at UPMC Hamot.

A shuttle will run between the college’s two largest campuses, so students at North East can participate as well.

For more information, call the Cohen Health Center at 824-2431.