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On Saturday, April 5th 2014, the members of Rutgers University’s Douglass Black Student Congress (DBSC) put together a formal event known as The Pink Tie Affair. The event was held on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick NJ in the Douglass College Center. This event was put together to honor a few powerful women who have battled breast cancer and spread the importance of breast cancer awareness. During the dinner portion, there was a video montage that showed the female students of DBSC speaking out about breast cancer awareness and how crucial it is that women get yearly mammograms and annual breast exams. The event was extremely informative and it got everyone to understand the significance of this disease.

Keynote speaker Dorothy Reed, Sisters Network Representative, was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 years ago. She spoke about her fight with breast cancer and how this disease can happen at any point in a woman’s life. She also stressed the importance of having a great support system and that is what she has been providing through the Sisters Network of Central New Jersey Inc (SNCNJ).

The Sisters Network was founded in 2000 when it was bought to the attention that there was a need for an African American breast cancer support organization in Central New Jersey.  The Sisters Network is an organization designed to give breast cancer patients and survivors. SNCNJ is committed to lowering the high breast cancer mortality rate of African American women through education and awareness.

Followed by a powerful poem selection performed by Rutgers student Justice Heir, two time breast cancer survivor, Lareatha Payne, shared her story.  Payne was diagnosed with cancer 16 years ago. She remained cancer-free for 11 years and then it returned. She shared her story of how the doctors told her that she should prepare for death, but she remained positive and kept laughter in her life to get through it all.

After the very powerful and humorous speech given by Lareatha Payne, there was a Luminary Ceremony. The Luminary ceremony, everyone was given a pink bag and a candle. Everyone was instructed to write the name(s) of women we knew who have had to fight breast cancer. After the names were written on the bags, the candles were placed inside. Everyone was then told to stand around the perimeter of the room in remembrance of those people. There was prayer followed by a moment of silence.

DBSC did an excellent job at putting together such a powerful event. They provided everyone with insight and helpful information. Spreading the word about breast cancer and how important it is for women to take care of their bodies and get checked annually.

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Keynote speaker Dorothy Reed sharing her story and speaking about her organization, The Sisters Network of Central New Jersey.

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Lareatha Payne sharing her story about her battles with breast cancer. “I started to laugh more and get away from negative people…started to get happiness in my system.” Payne says recalling how she handled breast cancer. Her humor about everything lightened the very sensitive mood in the room and made everyone feel good. She ended with “Keep faith in what you do. Believe in yourself…there are times when I’m feeling down and I look at myself in the mirror and say ‘girl, you look good’

 

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The luminary ceremony/A Walk in her Shoes. Everyone who has ever lost someone to cancer or knows someone who is battling or has fought cancer was asked to stand around the perimeter of the room as the candles that were placed in the pink bags lit up the atmosphere to represent those who passed on. Once everyone was standing, there was a prayer and a moment of silence.

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