Going Overboard for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Sandy Mueller, BA, RT(R)(M), RDMS
Post from: Advance Web.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), which takes place in October, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

When it was created, I doubt any of its founders believed that BCAM would become the phenomenal success it is today. But in fact, for many of us in mammography, preparing for BCAM represents a significant piece of our job in terms of commitment and coordination.

A case in point: I work for a four-hospital system in suburban Chicago. This year our regional BCAM team began meeting in March with one major goal: To make our observance of BCAM better than last year. You see, a few years ago, one of our oncologists suggested that we didn’t provide BCAM with enough recognition. We took that as a personal challenge, so we did some things. Then we did some more things the year after that. And now we’re out of control.

Last year we held a first-ever Tree Lighting Ceremony in which we held a special program and then lit pink Christmas lights throughout our campuses. We also tied pink ribbons on all the trees. We also hosted a physician’s educational dinner and offered Lunch and Learn talks to the staff. Our mammographers made and sold pink ribbon scarves; then donated the profits to the Making Strides Walk. It was very successful; the feedback was incredible.

So, how to raise the bar for this year? Well, we’re doing all that, plus we’re adding a Pink Ribbon Art Contest. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a contest open to the public for art relating to breast cancer. And we’re not fooling around—first prize is a $500 Apple gift card,

The art will be sold at Silent Auction at the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and the proceeds will benefit our newly formed Breast Cancer Education and Outreach Fund. And, oh, did I mention the Essay Competition for kids? The topic is “What the Pink Ribbon Means to Me,” and the winner gets a Nintendo Wii. I’m thinking of entering it myself–I’ve always wanted one of those games!

Then there is Pink Friday–Friday, Oct. 1. We’re planning to hold bake sales in the hospital lobbies, to pass out pink carnations at the entrances and to give prizes to staff who wear pink that day. We’ll also be holding a celebration in our auditorium where somehow I’ve been talked into wearing a pink Gorilla suit (Don’t ask).

We needed to add three subcommittees in order to get everything done for this year, so yes, we might be going a little overboard. But the kind of passion our team displays means they’re feeling the mission. And that’s when miracles happen.

(I’m really nervous about next year, but I won’t think about that right now.)

Sandy Mueller is Technical Manager of Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Outpatient Imaging Centers in Hinsdale, Ill.