Celebrating With a Sea of Survivors

Published on June 25, 2014 by arothstein

(BOISE) When it comes to breast cancer, the odds are staggering. Nationally, one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime. One of those eight is a massage therapy student at Broadview University. In an effort to help find a cure, she and a team of nine other students, faculty and staff members joined this year’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. They dressed in pink—along with thousands of others in Downtown Boise—and spent the day celebrating with a sea of survivors.

Massage therapy students Katie (left) and Chelsea (right) participate in Komen for a Cure as part of a Broadview University team. This is the third year the university has supported the local effort to fight breast cancer.

This is the third year the Boise campus has participated in the annual event. Each year, the campus puts together a team and makes a donation to the Boise affiliate of Komen for the Cure.

The organization funds vital breast cancer education at the local level, provides screening and treatment programs in our own community, and supports the search for a cure. Michelle Fenn is one of those who have benefitted from that support.

Massage therapy student Michelle Fenn (right) and her mom (center) lead the Survivor’s Parade pack. Both women are cancer survivors.

“I was first diagnosed with cancer in 2009,” she said. “Two years later, it was determined I also had breast cancer.”

Fenn, who has since recovered after undergoing several surgeries and treatments, says she has a genetic predisposition that makes her susceptible to different types of cancer. Her mom, who joined this year’s Broadview University Komen team, is also a cancer survivor. However, unlike her daughter, her cancer was not genetic. Each year, their entire family joins the race for the cure effort.

“We have done [this race] together for many years now,” Fenn said, “but this is the first time we have done it with a team.”

The day’s events started very early in the morning in the middle of a torrential downpour. For the first time in several years, it rained. The team members—huddled together in the cold, waiting for a shuttle bus—slowly made their way to the pre-race survivor events.

One event was a survivor’s parade. One by one, a few hundred women—dressed in pink from head to toe—made their way to the event’s starting line. Following a team of bagpipers, Fenn and her mom led the pack; walking proudly with a smile. Within a few minutes of the event’s start, the clouds parted and the sun magically appeared—clearing the way for a beautiful day.

“I am so happy that Broadview University supports this effort each year,” Fenn said. “It certainly means a lot. Each year I show up here, I get a pink ribbon. Each ribbon means another year of being a survivor. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”

The event date for 2015 has been set for Saturday, May 9.

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