Students raise funds, promote breast cancer awareness

When the Salem Rocks varsity volleyball team took the court last week, they made quite a statement.

It wasn’t just their convincing four-game win over the visiting Wayne Memorial Zebras, but the fact that they were decked out in pink: pink socks, pink shoelaces, pink headbands—even a pink volleyball—as they took part in their first ‘Digging for a Cure’ fundraiser to generate donations for an raise awareness of the disease.

The students sold t-shirts in advance of the game and money from the concession stand was donated to the effort, too. The students raised more than $700 for their efforts, which will be donated to Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. to provide free mammograms to uninsured or under-insured women in the Canton area.

“I wanted to make sure the money stayed in the community,” said Lynn Dworzanin, president of the volleyball booster club. A breast cancer survivor herself, she helped coordinate the fundraiser. “To have it stay in the community makes it more impactful.”

Dworzanin, whose daughter, Abigail, is a senior on the Rocks’ varsity squad, was diagnosed during a routine screening in February and said she knows full well the value of catching the disease early.

“I was forever grateful that it was caught early; I was very fortunate,” she said. “Breast cancer screening is so important. It’s critical to diagnose it early.”
An early detection leads to faster treatment and quicker recovery times and, ultimately, a better outcome. About 90 percent of women who are diagnosed with the disease are still living cancer free five years after their treatment.

“The goal is to catch it early, before you can feel it,” said Majd Aburabia, MD, an Oakwood-affiliated surgeon specializing in breast care.

Dworzanin said the event received such positive feedback that the students hope to build on it next year.

“We’ll continue this tradition for the next several years,” she said. “It’s not going to just be a one-time thing.”

Nancy Gray, administrator of women’s health services for Oakwood, said she was impressed with the thoughtfulness of the students and appreciative of the donation.

“It is great to see young people so active and engaged in this important issue,” she said. “We’d like to extend our thanks to everyone involved. This could help save lives.”