Zeta Tau Alpha participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Artsquest in Bethlehem on Oct. 27.
For the first time, members participated in the walk as a registered team and volunteered in the survivor tent. Five members walked and 13 members worked in the tent.
According to ZTA’s website, “Through its partnership with the American Cancer Society, ZTA is the National Survivor Ambassador of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.”
Members held a fingerprint activity in the survivor tent and handed T-shirts, inspirational cards and other items to survivors.
“I like interacting with survivors because my mother is a survivor and it’s something close to my heart,” said Samantha Estin, ‘20, the programming chair for Lehigh’s chapter of ZTA.
Kristin Hlavinka, the survivor tent organizer, said ZTA chapters from Lehigh, Moravian College and Kutztown University participated in the event.
Hlavinka said she has been involved with breast cancer awareness for almost 30 years, ever since she became a ZTA member in 1990. For the past four years, Hlavinka has been involved with Making Strides of the Lehigh Valley, the American Cancer Society and is the local ZTA ambassador. Her role as ZTA ambassador includes coordinating ZTA volunteers at the walk.
For Lily Kuhn, ’21, the coordinator of the survivor tent for Lehigh, the walk took on personal meaning.
“My aunt is a survivor of breast cancer, so this event is very special to me,” Kuhn said. “These events bring awareness towards research being done to find a cure for breast cancer and I want to go into research.”
Mark Stankiewicz, the community development manager of the American Cancer Society, said this is Making Strides of Lehigh Valley’s second year at Artsquest and eighth year in Bethlehem.
Stankiewicz said turnout for the walk has grown exponentially. He said it started out as a small event in the Lehigh Valley and now includes about 2,000 people.
“Making Strides is very heavily based on corporations doing fundraising events at their own businesses,” he said.
Stankiewicz said another fundraising initiative is Bling Your Bra, a Lehigh Valley-wide competition where men decorate bras. The event raised $9,000 this year.
In addition to community efforts, ZTA holds on-campus philanthropy events during the organization’s annual Pink Week. This year’s events included a photo campaign, the Mr. Pink Pageant, an educational workshop, a cake decorating competition and the Pink Party, the chapter’s biggest event which included food, games, a capella performances and raffles.
“On campus, we try to bring awareness to prevention strategies so that, for people who are young enough, these strategies can be effective,” Kuhn said.