By ANGIE CARNATHAN
For the girls of Zeta Tau Alpha at Mississippi State University, their battle against breast cancer isn’t just another philanthropy project.
Not only does the sorority have at least two active members whose mothers are currently fighting breast cancer, the mother of one of their faculty advisors recently passed away from the illness.
This is why they said they are asking the Starkville community for help in the coming months to help them raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“We’re collecting the pink tops off Yoplait products and sending them in,” Zeta President Tori Ferguson said. “For every top we send in, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $2 million, so we want to get as many lids in as possible.”
According to the Yoplait website, its “Save Lids Save Lives” program donates the money back to the zip code the lids were sent from. They are redeemed for money that will affect their friends and neighbors.
Ferguson said the sorority has put lid collection boxes around campus, but those who don’t get to campus often can send them directly to the sorority and it will donate them with the rest they collect.
The Zeta address to send lids to is P.O. Box 2543, Miss State, MS, 39762. The sorority will collect lids until Nov. 30.
Ferguson said the sorority is doing more than just collect lids to help in the fight against breast cancer.
“We’ve put together pink baskets that we take to the Center for Breast Health and Imaging here in Starkville, we write letters of encouragement, we pass out pink ribbons all over campus and we provide peppermints to chemotherapy patients,” Ferguson said. “Our advisor’s mom, the one that passed away recently, used to say the only thing that tasted good to her during chemotherapy was peppermints, so we try to make sure they have plenty.”
Zeta Vice-President Sara Vance said the effort means a lot to the girls whose mom’s were currently battling the illness.
“One of our members, Julianna Salyer, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, and we wrote her mom cards and sent flowers. Juilanna said it made a huge difference,” Vance said. “Plus, her family lives in Hoover, Ala., so her mom was far away, and we knew that was hard on her. Since Julianna was here with us, we were able to provide comfort and encouragement for her and be her family away from home.”
Ferguson said the sorority recently celebrated a victory for one member’s mother.
“Last Friday was Angela Jugan’s mom’s five-year anniversary of being cancer-free,” Ferguson said. “We love hearing news like that.”
Ferguson said the national goal for Zeta chapters is to increase education about breast cancer and emphasize early detection. Vance said the sorority keeps information around its house about how often to do a self-examination and what early warning signs might be.
“It’s never too late to start being educated about breast cancer,” Vance said. “Its a disease that could affect us all.”