Consider wearing all pink on Wednesday, February 13, joining with thousands of others sharing information about Sharsheret’s vital programs and services on Sharsheret Pink Day. Pink Day, first launched in 2010, is a worldwide initiative run by students to raise awareness about breast cancer and cancer genetics and help save lives.
High schools throughout the country, and university organizations such as Hillel, Chabad and Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, among others, are invited to enroll in the program. Young people are poised to make a difference as they provide education for people in many different locations. By enrolling their schools in Pink Day and organizing events and activities, a hum of excitement will be generated on campus. Students will be spreading the word about the importance of paying attention to one’s health and encouraging adults to receive medical check-ups, while providing information about organizations such as Sharsheret, which helps people navigate a diagnosis of breast and/or ovarian cancer.
When Tzvi Solomon was a student at TABC, he experienced a personal connection with a relative dealing with breast cancer and thought of the saying, “Real Men Wear Pink.” In collaboration with Sharsheret, he then brought Pink Day to his gap year program in Israel.
Last year, more than 100 schools nationwide, encompassing thousands of students in high schools, colleges and universities, participated in the initiative. Pink was the color of the day!
Student ambassadors or administrators on campus are invited to contact the Sharsheret Pink Day coordinator and enroll their schools in Pink Day. Pink Day Tool Kits will be sent to interested schools and include suggestions about programs and events, educational resources, items for display and/or for sale and ideas for “spreading the word” through social media.
With the objective of Pink Day being awareness and education, students’ ease with social media such as Facebook and Instagram is put into play as students share their thoughts and experiences about women’s health issues. Students are empowered when they realize they can make a difference. Educating their peers about their own health, while encouraging adults to do the same, students become change-makers. Each school decides the activities planned for Pink Day, which may include basketball tournaments, “pink” challah bakes, health awareness programs, establishing a “pink day” of learning, presenting inspiring speakers and, perhaps, creating items such as pink day bandanas or hats. Project-driven by the schools, some students will raise funds for Sharsheret and others will use the occasion to educate and inform. The outcome is the same: students becoming advocates for health and leaders within their schools.
In our area, schools such as SAR, WDS and WHHS participate in Pink Day activities. Working with Hillels of Westchester and, specifically, SUNY Purchase, Pink Day is highly visible in Westchester County. Connecticut participants include the University of Connecticut, University of Hartford, Yale and Trinity College.
Sharsheret, established by Rochelle L. Shoretz, z”l, in November 2001, just four months after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28, is an organization dedicated to serving the unique concerns of Jewish women with breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Shasheret’s profound work has created an important, influential organization helping Jewish women and their families. Lauryn Weiser, a resident of New Rochelle and one of the original organizers of Sharsheret explained, “What helped the organization grow was a communal commitment, an understanding that the support provided by Sharsheret would fill a tremendous void.” With objectives of support, education and information, Sharsheret provides invaluable assistance within the Jewish community and beyond.
By Yvette Finkelstein