Pink is the new black at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Omaha, at least for this week. The trend isn't in the name of fashion, but instead, to help battle breast cancer.
Friday was dubbed, “Pink Out Day,” and students and staff, girls and boys alike got into the spirit by wearing pink in all different shades, including pink ribbons. Staff members pitched in $5 a piece in order to go "Passionately Pink for the Cure."
The five-year-tradition for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is spearheaded by Guidance Secretary Deb Feldman and benefits Susan G. Komen For the Cure. "It's really fun,” she said. “The kids really get into it. The staff has been really wonderful in supporting it."
Breast cancer is an issue near to Feldman’s heart. She was diagnosed with it seven years ago. It wasn’t through a routine mammogram, though she’d been having those on-schedule. Instead, her doctor felt the tumor on a routine visit.
Testing later confirmed it was indeed cancerous, and she was in early stage two of the disease. "You go through the whole shock. You know this can't be happening to me. My kids at the time were in junior high and high school."
She was in the rarer category of younger diagnosis, in her early forties. All she could do was fight, with a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and the support of family, friends and colleagues. “When you have that support, it makes it so much easier," she said.
Now, she believes she’s cured – and she’s lending some support to the battle against the disease that threatened her life. One out of every eight women will eventually face invasive breast cancer, but through more awareness and early diagnosis, they will stand a much better chance at surviving.
That’s why she’s enlisted the help of students like eighth grader Lenora Boone, to sell pins for 25 cents a piece this week during their lunch hour, with all proceeds going to Komen for the Cure. "It feels awesome to help,” said Boone.
Some, like eighth grader Olga Chavez, even have personal ties to the disease. "I can relate because my uncle was diagnosed with it and passed away,” said Chavez. He died last summer, another rare example of the disease’s impact. One in a thousand men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in his lifetime.
With 85-percent of all diagnosis, there is no family history involved. That’s one of the misconceptions for which Feldman is trying to provide more education.
"You can't just be complacent and think this can't happen to you,” she said. “But if it does, i think your attitude has a lot to do with that, and the attitude of those around you."