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Saturday, August 29, 2015

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Balloons released for breast cancer awareness


Kalamazoo resident Elizabeth Martinez untangles pink balloons on Oct. 27, 2013, at the rock on Farm Lane. The West Michigan Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma released 45 pink balloons with messages for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Georgina De Moya/The State News

The sky above the rock on Farm Lane was covered with pink Sunday in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority held a balloon release, each carrying a message of encouragement and awareness, to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The event was hosted by the West Michigan Alumnae Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma, which started this year and is comprised of Sigma Lambda Gamma chapters from across West Michigan.

Genevieve Padro, the vice president of marketing for the West Michigan Alumnae Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma and an MSU alumna, was in charge of the organization’s first balloon release.

The group’s efforts this year have raised more than $600 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is the sorority’s national philanthropy, Padro said.

At the event Sunday, the group collected donations before the event and sold 45 balloons to raise more money.

In addition to collecting money for charity, the event also served as a reunion for the past and present sorority members from across the state.

Spanish junior Kimberly Germain said she released a balloon on Saturday for her grandmother, a breast cancer survivor.

“These events are empowering to (my grandma),” Germain said. “It helps my grandmother and I know how important it is to her.”

Psychology senior Titi Oladipo said she was contacted by Padro about the balloon release and was excited to participate.

“I’m excited to be able to raise awareness for this issue” Oladipo said.

Before the release, Sonia Fuentes, graduate student and Sigma Lambda Gamma alumna, gave a speech to attendees prior to the balloon release and shared some statistics about breast cancer.

“Twelve percent of women have been or will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Fuentes, pointing to every eighth balloon marked with a purple ribbon to symbolize a woman diagnosed with the disease.

She also stressed the importance of preventative measures, telling the women that yearly mammograms and breast self-examinations are keys to catching signs of the disease before it is too late.

“The best way to catch breast cancer is to become educated about the disease, you have to know the warning signs,” Fuentes said.

For more information about breast cancer, or to learn more about preventative measures, visit http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/.

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