Pinkathon 5K Races for Breast Cancer Awareness

Some sprinted across the finish line, huffing and puffing, while others simply walked across it, laughing, but everyone had the same goal: to help find a cure for breast cancer. 

The second annual Pinkathon Five College Breast Cancer Awareness 5K took place Oct. 25, with a timed run/walk beginning at 9:30 a.m. and an un-timed run/walk beginning at 10 a.m. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) of CMS and the Claremont Colleges Against Cancer (CCAC) teamed up to host the runs, their first large fundraising event of the academic year.

5C students and members of the Claremont community alike registered for $5 and Pinkathon T-shirts sold for $10, with all proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) event series.  

Approximately 80
people participated in the runs, and all were given water and cookies at the
finish line. Danial Ceasar CM ’15 ran the timed run to show
his support for finding a cure for cancer. 

“It was really fun,
even though we accidentally took a wrong turn on the course,” he
said. “A lot of my good friends are here, and when we started
feeling tired on the run we reminded ourselves that this isn’t
for us. It’s for supporting the cause.”

Tess
Despres HM ’18, a member of the production committee for CCAC, ran the
un-timed run with her lacrosse team. 

“A lot of the team is involved in the
CCAC,” Despres said. “There’s a good mix of
participation between the five colleges here. As one of the only Mudders on the
CCAC, I’m definitely trying to reach out more to Harvey Mudd
students to get involved in these events.”

Students could also register to be bone marrow donors, an effort to both promote awareness and enable students to directly help patients suffering
from various diseases. The booth collected a cheek swab of each student wishing to be added to the list of possible bone marrow donors. The process to become a donor is somewhat difficult as it is hard to match a patient’s
specific tissue type. Michelle Ozaki SC ’16, the Advocacy
Chair of the CCAC, pushed for this initiative because college students are the
prime age to donate bone marrow. 

“We’ve never had a bone
marrow donor table before, but we definitely want to put it in every big event
we host,” Ozaki said.

The runs brought together a diverse group of participants, from across age groups and stages of life, many of whom had been affected in forms both distant and immediate. In Saturday’s race, there were not just supporters, but survivors, running on the track.

Becky Gold SC ’15,
a member of CCAC’s executive board, participated in Pinkathon as a survivor. She was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma when she was 17 years old and
a senior in high school. 

“Having cancer motivated me to do
something,” she said. “It wasn’t even as much the fact that I had
cancer, but I saw how it affected other people. It’s not just a
one-person battle.” 

CCAC fostered open communication and support, which are much needed in the context of such difficult
personal experiences. Members highly recommended supporting those who have been affected by cancer by attending events and spreading awareness. The biggest event the CCAC will host
is scheduled to be the Relay for Life in the spring of 2015. 

“I did my first Relay for Life two
months after I was diagnosed, and it was an amazing event,” Gold said. “It’s
24 hours on the track with games and activities, and just having that support
system around me helped so much.”

The next event
for the CCAC is coming up Nov. 14 at Scripps College’s Motley Coffeehouse, an open mic
night from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with spoken word and music. T-shirts will sell for $10. CCAC members hope that Claremont students will continue to to support one another in finding a cure for cancer through their events, for both cancer survivors and themselves. 

“To
this day, participating in the Claremont Colleges Against Cancer has been the
most meaningful experience I’ve had at the 5Cs,” CCAC President Amber Falkner CM ’16 said. 

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