Simpson organizations observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Students and faculty decorated bras in Kent Campus Center, sponsored by the Feminist Club. The bra drive supported past breast cancer patients and survivors. (Photo: Jayde Vogeler, Photography Editor/The Simpsonian)

by Kylee Mullen, Flipside Editor

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Two Simpson College organizations observed Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October by raising awareness and fundraising for a local nonprofit.

According to, about one in eight women and one in 1,000 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Breast cancer is listed as the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women besides skin cancer and has the highest death rates among women than any other cancer besides lung cancer.

As part of this observance, the Cancer Awareness Club hosted its fourth annual Think Pink Football Game fundraiser Oct. 29.

The Cancer Awareness Club raises awareness of cancer and raises funds to donate to various organizations associated with cancer. The club was originally dedicated specifically to breast cancer but recently changed to support a wider range of cancer types.


Cancer Awareness Club President Megan Bradley, a junior, said the fundraiser is not only intended to raise money but also encourage students to learn more about breast cancer and preventative steps.

“You can’t talk to one person who has not been, in some way, affected by cancer,” Bradley said. “If you haven’t been affected, you are probably going to be affected in some way at some point in your life.”

The fundraiser included shirt sales, raffles, a cotton candy machine and games for kids. The raffles included eight theme baskets, as well as a signed football by Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz, a signed basketball by Iowa State basketball coach Steve Prohm, two autographed photos by Vikings players and two men’s basketball tickets at Northern Iowa, among other items.

Games included Flush Cancer, where attendees toss items into a toilet seat, and Bra Pong, where a wooden pallet is used to bounce ping pong balls into bracups.

All the proceeds  will be donated to Can Do Cancer, a nonprofit organization based in Des Moines.

According to the organization’s website, Can Do Cancer works to improve the lives of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment in the Des Moines area.

The services the organization provides include house cleaning services throughout treatment, supplying dinner for patients and their family, a website for patients to learn more about their diagnosis and motivational support from breast cancer survivors.

The club and its fundraising efforts are especially important to Bradley, who has personal experience with cancer. Bradley said her mother is a breast cancer survivor and her aunt died of colon cancer.

She encourages all students to learn more about cancer and to check themselves for symptoms regularly.

“It’s important for people to know that there are things they can have done,” she said. “There are things that people might think are abnormal but still won’t pay any attention to them. By the time they go to a doctor, it may have already progressed.”

She also said the club is proud to donate to Can Do Cancer, which provides services and a support system that has not always been available to victims of the disease.

“When my mom had cancer, there were no support systems, but now they have those systems in place,” she said.

Bradley said the amount of money raised for Can Do Cancer will be announced in the next few weeks.

Simpson’s Feminist Club, an organization founded this year, also worked to raise awareness by encouraging students to paint bras and learn how to check for symptoms of breast cancer.

Feminist Club co-founder Liz Nimmo, a sophomore, said she started the club when she realized there was not previously a space on campus dedicated to talking about women’s issues with other students.

“As a feminist organization, we care about women’s issues and women’s health issues,” she said. “A part of that is giving attention to breast cancer and raising awareness for that.”

The Feminist Club set up a table where students could either bring their own bras or purchase a bra for $3. Students were then encouraged to decorate bras to support survivors of breast cancer or to remember someone they have lost to breast cancer.

Alternatively, students could decorate the bra to support body positivity and raise awareness for that as well.

Nimmo said the club received a lot of positive feedback during the event.

“I am really happy with the turnout,” Nimmo said. “They were all so creative and had really good messages for why people decided to decorate a bra, so I think that was really representative of the enthusiasm that went into this event.”

They also provided informational packets on how students could check themselves for symptoms of breast cancer.

After decorating, the club hung the completed bras on the wall in Kent Campus Center and left them for the remainder of the day so the community could see them before being returned to the students who decorated them.

This was the first event the club has organized and is currently in the process of planning their next event. They hope to host another event before the end of the fall semester.

Simpson’s Cancer Awareness Club meets every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in Carse 174. Feminist Club meets every other Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Women’s Resource Center.