SLU’s support during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The journey of the survivors that are apart of the Faculty and Staff at SLU

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many have been representing Saint Louis University in spreading awareness for this prevalent disease. Many events like Sista Strut, Making Strides and Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy week help raise money and inform not only the campus but others about the statistics regarding breast cancer.

This year, Sista Strut and Making Strides are being held virtually due to COVID-19. These events are great ways for survivors and the community to get together to spread education and awareness. Even as the events take place virtually, it does not make the events any less meaningful. The annual Sista Strut event, usually organized by volunteers of Saint Louis University, was held Saturday, Oct. 3. Regina Walton, Executive Assistant for Diversity and Community Engagement stated, “the strength of survivors and their families and friends, heightens awareness, promotes early detection and aids the search for a cure.” Dr. Fran Pestello participated in Sista Strut in 2019 and reminisced on the event: “participating in Sista Strut was a good bonding experience for a cross-section of people who have been impacted by or supportive of people who have been impacted by breast cancer. It often happens on a beautiful October day.  It is fun to walk the streets of St. Louis with just people.” Another great event to participate in is Making Strides, a 5k run/walk put together by the American Cancer Society in certain cities. Every year, St. Louis proudly hosts an annual event. Survivors, families, caretakers, and friends of survivors, as well as local organizations like the Zeta Tau Alpha chapter at SLU, can participate and volunteer at the event to support those who have been affected. 

This past week, starting Oct. 3 and ending Oct. 13, Zeta Tau Alpha had their philanthropy week. Even though their philanthropy week is now over, they will be raising awareness and money for breast cancer awareness and education throughout the entire month. Zeta Tau Alpha was able to raise a total of $12,648 in one week through raffle tickets, profit shares, donations, donuts, and pink hair extensions. 

SLU faculty Amy Russell, Administrative Assistant and Chief Financial Officer, and Sharilyn Bazile, Political Science Administrative Assistant, were able to share their journey of battling cancer. 

Russell stated, “A huge thank you to Drs. Xynos, Father and Son, and the entire team at the GYNO Oncology department. I am forever grateful for the treatment they provided.” She is very grateful to the doctors who were able to catch her cancer early so that she did not have to undergo chemo or radiation after her double mastectomy. Russell wanted people to know that it is important that people do not forget that men can also get breast cancer. She and her husband had lost a male friend at 28-years-old due to the disease. 

In Oct. 2017 Sharilyn Bazile was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She stated, “It was an irony for me that the first year I participated in Sister Strut was when I was diagnosed.” Bazile was excited to learn about the treatment process and how it has evolved over the years. She also found it interesting that early detection is no longer a death sentence. Bazile ended treatment in Oct. 2018 and said, “I felt amazing. This was my cross to bear and although it was unexpected, I was ready for the fight. I am truly grateful that God has healed me. I am grateful to the SLU doctors for my care and my family for their support.” 

Both of these beautiful and strong women have such unique stories to share with not only our SLU community but to everyone around the world so we can understand the prevalence of this disease. I am grateful and appreciative that both Russell and Bazile were able to tell me their stories. Not only are there faculty within our SLU community recovered from Breast Cancer but other faculty, staff, and students who have been battling or affected by this disease as well. 

A huge shout out goes to all of the women and men who have and are battling with Breast Cancer, you are all an inspiration to others.