Barnes and Noble College picturing a cure through social media

By: Molly Gase

Social media is being used for social advancement at The University of Akron’s Barnes and Noble bookstore. A recent email was sent out to all UA students asking them to utilize Facebook for a good cause. For every student who changes his or her profile picture to a pink ribbon and becomes a fan of the Barnes & Noble College page, Barnes & Noble College will donate a dollar, with a maximum donation of $10,000, to the Youth Survival Coalition.

Entitled “Picture A Cure,” this event will continue on throughout the month of October, with profits raised going toward the fight against cancer.

“Every October, national breast cancer organizations, medical associations and other groups join together to raise awareness of breast cancer issues and the importance of screening and early detection during Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” according to the group’s website, “And during this month – and each month that follows – it’s estimated that more than 1,000 women under the age of 40 will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s more than 12,000 each year.”

“Young Survival Coalition (YSC) … is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.”

The organization was founded by three young women who all faced the diagnosis of cancer before the age of 35.

Founded in 1998, YSC has headquarters in New York City as well as approximately 30 affiliates throughout the United States. The group states that its main goal is to have a network of young women who work together to “advocate for more studies about young women and breast cancer, educate young women about the importance of breast self-awareness and knowledge, and serve as a community of support for young women with breast cancer.”

The members of YSC also make a point of helping women “find meaning, comfort and hope during one of the most challenging experiences of their lives.”

The organization is committed to welcoming women of all backgrounds to their community and does not discriminate. They strive to create a place where all women, regardless of race, sexual orientation, culture, ability or economic background can come together and find support.

Many of the women who seek support from the group are the same age as your average college student.

One such woman is Darci Clark, who was diagnosed at age 19. YSC tells her story alongside those of many other young survivors. Clark was diagnosed after performing a home breast exam. She found a lump but at first did not seek medical help, saying that she was too embarrassed and unsure of what she was finding.

Only after paying a visit to a doctor’s office for a common cold did she ask the nurse to check the lump. After many check-ups, the removal of the lump and a biopsy of the cells, she discovered that what she had found was actually a rare tumor called cystosarcoma phyilloides that had a high chance for re-growth.

While fighting her cancer, Clark was forced to drop out of college and focus on survival. She speaks about her collapsing veins and how many times she was poked with needles prior to each surgery. The small things stand out the most for her.

Clark was able to conquer her cancer, return to college and later marry. Her life has changed a lot since she defeated her cancer, and she is thankful for the amount of support she received during her treatment.

Stories like that of Clark reflect the struggles of young college students who are forced to personally face the fight against cancer. By changing their profile picture in the month of October, students can help that fight.