Montclair State Students Commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Taking Steps Toward a Cure

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Published October 11, 2021
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The Montclarion
Montclair State University students, Jake Hamstra, Madyson Garthly, Shannon O'Connell, Samantha Seiser and Erin Lawlor. Photo courtesy of Erin Lawlor

Montclair State University students participated in the annual 3-mile breast cancer walk at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey on Oct. 10.

Montclair State’s RecBoard formed a team to partake in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, an annual walk hosted by the American Cancer Society, and raised $324 for the cause.

Teni Bello, community service chair on RecBoard, helped to plan the event. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Teni Bello, community service chair on RecBoard, helped to plan the event.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Teni Bello, a junior communication and media arts major, is the community service chair for the RecBoard, a collaboration of students that create, organize, promote and administer events and community service opportunities for the students at Montclair State.

“This is my first event planning on hand with the [RecBoard],” Bello said. “Being able to get a lot of Montclair State University students out there for a good cause is what I really aim for.”

A sea of pink participants as teams walk through Liberty State Park. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

A sea of pink participants as teams walk through Liberty State Park.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Bello explained that the walk is a good way to talk to cancer survivors, connect with family and friends of people who lost their battle and help a great cause.

Samantha Seiser, a junior educational foundations for elementary teachers major, walked for her mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2018 and is now cancer-free after having a bilateral mastectomy in October 2018. After finding out her mother was diagnosed, Seiser says she was shocked and upset, but ready to support her throughout the entire process.

“Events like these bring everyone together,” Seiser says. “People that are going through tough times feel that unity with everyone and it helps them know they are not alone.”

Seiser was grateful to see how many people came out for the walk and wanted to support people, like her mother, who have been affected by breast cancer.

Samantha Seiser decked out in pink to support the cause. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Samantha Seiser decked out in pink to support the cause.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Montclair State students were joined by members of local communities, all walking together to raise money and awareness.

Madeline Morales Barrett, a resident of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, helped put this walk together with her husband, James Barrett.

The Barretts have been working with The American Cancer Society for 14 years and are excited, after 18 months, to finally be back in person having the breast cancer walk again.

A booth sponsored by RWJBaranabas Health promotes awareness. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

A booth sponsored by RWJBaranabas Health promotes awareness.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

“This helps fund the research to end breast cancer,” Barrett said. “One of the teams made almost $71,000. [They’re] called ‘Alison’s Army.’”

Viviana Figueroa was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020 and just finished her treatment last week. She is very thankful for the breast cancer walk and everyone who is trying to help find a cure.

“It is a nice way to raise money for more research,” Figueroa said. “Thanks to all the research that has been done, I was able to get that treatment.”

Viviana Figueroa and her team at the walk. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Viviana Figueroa and her team at the walk.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

She is thankful that she can come together with her friends and family and walk for all the others who are battling, as well as herself.

Yaka Rios walked for her aunt, who passed away three years ago from her long battle with breast cancer.

“We do this for her every year,” Rios said. “It’s a good excuse for everyone to get together. It’s good to do it for her and we get to honor her memory [this way].”

Yaka Rios and her team wear matching sweatshirts to show their support. Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

Yaka Rios and her team wear matching sweatshirts to show their support.
Erin Lawlor | The Montclarion

The Rios family proudly wore their matching shirts in honor of their family member.

For more information for walks in your area or on how to donate, visit: https://www.cancer.org

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