Pretty In Pink: Bringing Awareness To Breast Cancer

Carleton University’s Tau Sigma Phi hosted their annual ‘Bra Pong’ fundraiser on Tuesday in support of breast cancer awareness and prevention.

“We made a board that has bras on it and basically you have to throw a ball into a bra and if you get it in, you win a prize,” said Tia Belisle, Tau Sigma Phi member, adding winners could take home a handful of candy. “We did this event last year and it is just a fun way to get people to stop. People are intrigued, they see the bras and they are like ‘what are these girls doing?’”

Participants play by donating what they can to Tau Sigma Phi’s selected local charity, Be The Choice, “a not-for profit organization changing the way breast cancer diagnoses are experienced and treatment options are understood,” as said on their website.

“Getting people to stop and actually have to do something gives us time to talk to them and start a conversation about what we are raising money for rather than just asking for a donation and moving on,” said Rachel Birse, philanthropy chair of Tau Sigma Phi.

Bra Pong is a preliminary event leading up to Tau Sigma Phi’s biggest event of the week, Pretty in Pink.

“It is something a bit more fun, like an interactive incentive,” said Ashley McNern, president of Tau Sigma Phi. “However, we cannot claim this as our idea, it is probably on the internet. We just thought it would be something that is successful for us . . . If we reach $2 000, a bunch of us are getting breast cancer related tattoos.”

Along with Bra Pong, Tau Sigma Phi has a GoFundMe page to help them reach their fundraising goals. Some are even making a statement with their appearance to raise awareness.

“We have been putting incentives on it for every few hundred dollars raised. One person is dying her whole head pink,” Belisle said. She added the ‘Bra Pong’ event raised $150 and it could be because a lot of people find it amusing.

“One woman stopped by who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is going through her treatment right now,” said Hannah Wasslen, member of Tau Sigma Phi. “We were able to actually tell her about the tool (Be the Choice) so now she can go home, research and use it for her treatment so hopefully it can bring her a little bit of comfort as she is going through her process.”

Being able to see the effect of their fundraising has been a meaningful part of the process, Wasslen added.

Since Tau Sigma Phi’s inception, the founding mothers have made breast cancer research and treatment its philanthropic endeavor, said McNern, adding “We felt that we were always throwing money at cancer organizations, which is an awesome thing, but with Be the Choice, it is a local organization . . . The founder [Melanie Adrian] is a prof at Carleton and you can see very much where our money goes. We felt it was something that hit closer to home.”

Because of Tau Sigma Phi’s donations, Be the Choice has been able to reach over one million people, according to the sorority.Bra Pong, like Be the Choice, is an event for awareness, said Wasslen.

“A big part of their success comes from being able to get the word out,” said Belisle. “Do you know how many Canadians are diagnosed everyday with breast cancer? It is 72. Do you want to donate to help those 72 who will be diagnosed today?”