Breast Cancer Awareness: Beyond the Pink

By Faith Chesbrough
breast cancer awarnessIt’s something that can touch your mother or sister, maybe even your best friend. It is not yet curable, and the only prevention is early detection.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an important month for spreading the word about the disease and raising money to help find a cure. Chances are that someone you know has been affected by breast cancer.
Breast Cancer is a disease that “affects one in eight women on this planet,” according to Kathleen DiRusso, a founding member and team captain of The Cup Crusaders, an organization centered in Leominster that helps raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure fund and the local Massachusetts affiliate of the same fund.
Since 2005, when the group was first started, they have raised $1.1 million-plus. DiRusso said she was first inspired to walk after the loss of her cousin, who was the same age as her at the time, and realized that something had to change. After seeing other groups at her second breast cancer walk, she decided to start her own group. Breast cancer is something that DiRusso says “we should be able to fix … There’s enough technology and knowledge in this world, it is unacceptable to me.”
DiRusso says she supports Susan G. Komen for the Cure because it is “the largest grassroots organization in the world” and has donated “$2 billion for the cure, second only to the government.” Susan G. Komen also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood to fund free breast exams and mammograms in rural areas for women who rely on this help, says DiRusso.
“The money we’re raising is saving lives,” DiRusso says. “Hopefully my kid’s kids won’t have to know the pain of cancer.” DiRusso believes that once a cure for breast cancer is found it can lead to the curing of other types of cancers “one by one,” hopefully wiping cancer away once and for all. “Polio is gone, the Bubonic Plague, TB…they’re close to breast cancer and prostate cancer,” says DiRusso. If anyone is interested in getting involved with raising money for a cure, DiRusso said that since we are still “decades away from a cure,” she is looking for younger people to join the cause.
She completed her 21st walk this past weekend, the Philadelphia 3-Day, and has now walked 1,260 miles. She said she would “ideally like to recruit more walkers.” Those interested in contacting Kathleen DiRusso can find her on Facebook or visit to find more information or get in contact with her.
“Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate, it affects everybody,” said DiRusso. “Nobody is immune.”
At FSU, the members of Tri Sigma worked to spread awareness last Friday with a bake sale for breast cancer, and last Sunday with a walk. Everyone can get involved in some way, whether it’s doing a three-day walk or wearing a pink ribbon. Someone may see what you’re doing, remember to get a check-up, and possibly save their life. Being aware is a part of the fight against breast cancer, and it’s essential to finding a cure.