BY KASIA HENLEY
The Sheridan Student Union hosted the Canadian Cancer Society at Trafalgar Campus to raise awareness for breast cancer last Thursday. Sheryl Bates and Sandy McDonald manned a booth covered in infographics and swag beside the B-Wing Tim Hortons.
Their main objective was not simply to inform the Sheridan community. Bates and McDonald explained that when they were growing up, conversations about cancer were almost non-existent.
“In the movies, where they whisper ‘cancer,’ they can’t even say the word, that happened when we were growing up,” Bates explained. “The more we educate people, the healthier it is.”
“It’s really important to empower our youth,” McDonald added.
Athena Gubbe and Rose Smith, both in their fourth year of Animation, visited the booth to learn more about breast cancer. Both students had their own experiences with cancer.
Gubbe has a family history of the disease. Her grandmother died from ovarian cancer, and had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. “I’m not afraid that I’ll get it, but I’m aware that I could,” Gubbe says. “It’s good to know more about it.”
For Smith, however, it’s even more personal. She had her own cancer scare in the past. “It was scary,” she said. Pointing at the booth, she added, “It’s good for other people. It’s good to bring awareness.”
For Bates and McDonald, Sheridan offered more than just a student body to inspire. McDonald, who acts as the volunteer engagement coordinator for the CCS, talked about the charity’s need for more volunteers, including in the Oakville and Burlington area. The booth was stocked with pink sheets of paper detailing how to get involved and what events are coming up. McDonald said there’s an incentive to get involved: a scholarship opportunity worth $5,000 – but only for people who have volunteered for more than two years. The pair were also giving out “Thingamaboobs” – keychains with three different sized spheres illustrating different tumour sizes – for those who signed a list offering to helpwith volunteer efforts.
When talking about having open discussions about cancer, Bates said, “It’s healthy, it’s good, it’s a positive thing.
“Don’t be afraid to talk about breast health.”
Amelia Sher from the SSU organized the event.
For more information on cancer, visit the Canadian Cancer Society’s website; for information on how to get involved, visit their volunteer page.
Infograph by Laura Erne