Students start campaign to raise funds for breast cancer awareness



The Killdeer High School volleyball team prepares for a home match Tuesday against Mott-Regent. Both teams wore pink jerseys in support of breast cancer awareness. Two Killdeer student organizations put together a “Proud to Wear Pink” campaign for the game. (Photo by Bryan Gallegos)

Susan Grasmick was near tears when she saw the sea of pink at the volleyball match at Killdeer High School on Tuesday night.

Two Killdeer High School organizations, the Student Council and the Students Against Destructive Decisions set up a “Proud to Wear Pink” campaign at the volleyball match between Killdeer and Mott-Regent to promote breast cancer awareness.

“This is wonderful,” said Grasmick, herself wearing a tiny pink ribbon on her lapel. “Look at all this support. This is wonderful.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the students wanted to do something to show they cared, said Sydney Andersen, a member of the student council. Many of the students know people who have been affected by the disease.

“We  just felt we had to have a night where we got the crowd involved and brought awareness to the cause. It’s a great cause,” Andersen said.

First International Bank and American State Bank each agreed to donate $1 for every fan wearing pink to the game. There were 55 people who wore pink to the game, said Killdeer High School principal Karter Kleeman.

Both teams wore pink jerseys on Tuesday. The visiting Mott-Regent team wore pink game jerseys that featured a pink ribbon over the heart area. They’ve been wearing those special jerseys all months, said Mott-Regent head coach Aryn Hansen.

“I’m glad we were able to help them with this,” she said. “It’s great to see this kind of support.”

The Cowboys wore pink tie-dye t-shirts during the warm-up period. They wore their regular uniforms, but had special black and pink socks that were donated by an anonymous donor earlier this year.

For Grasmick, it was a surprising and appreciated gesture. She didn’t expect something like this when she left her home in Dickinson to watch her niece play for the Wildfire.

“My mother passed away a few months ago from breast cancer,” Grasmick said softly. “It’s a hard thing to accept.”

About one in eight North Dakota women will get breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the North Dakota Department of Health. Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for women in the state.   

According to reports, the American Cancer Society estimates that 530 women will be diagnosed and 80 women will die from breast cancer this year in North Dakota.

Men can also get breast cancer as well. Men account for about one percent of breast cancer cases.

However, if detected early, the survival rate is 90 percent. Early detection, better treatment, and better follow-up care have made it possible for more women to survive breast cancer.

“There is life after cancer,” said former Killdeer school teacher Mary Wheeling, who has been a cancer survivor for 16 years. “You can do what you want to do.”

Wheeling said it’s important to do self examinations routinely and mammograms yearly. And if you find something, check it out right away to get treatment.

Above all, she said, don’t think it’s the end of the world.

“You’re not alone,” she said. “You will have support.”

For Grasmick, she didn’t know many people in the gymnasium. But she felt close to everyone who was wearing pink.

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