Howard University Pharmacy Fraternity Raises Funds and Breast Cancer Awareness

WASHINGTON (Nov. 22) – The Howard University School of Pharmacy chapter of Kappa Epsilon donated $1,400 to Howard University Cancer Center and held a Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch recently at Blackburn Center as part of the professional pharmacy fraternity’s ongoing battle against breast cancer.

The organization raised more than $4,000 through donations from Wal-Mart, Rite-AID and proceeds from a brunch in the Art Gallery at Blackburn Center. The brunch, however, was primarily for education more than for raising money, said Jasmine Carpenter, the third-year student in the School of Pharmacy and Kappa Epsilon member organized the event.

Carpenter, originally from Washington, said that she wanted to do something simple and local as part of her organization’s bigger push to create more breast cancer survivors.

“I said, ‘The Cancer Center is right here at Howard,” Carpenter, 22, recalled.  “Why not help Howard?”

So, she did.  About 60 people enjoyed the food during the September brunch as they listened to breast cancer survivors and health care professionals talk about surviving the disease.  Breast cancer survivors Joan Oboite, Juone Darko and Jacque Perry told participants about their own struggles with the disease and offered encouragement.

“It was about not losing hope,” Oboite said about her triumph over breast cancer.   Oboite works in radiology and oncology at Howard University Cancer Center.

Dr. Daphne Bernard, assistant dean and professor of Howard University School of Pharmacy, opened the program with a poem about breast cancer.  Dr. Gladys Onojobi, a Howard University Cancer Center specialist, talked about risk factors, treatment options, as well as interesting findings concerning breast cancer and race.

Some women with a family history of breast cancer or who have already had breast cancer have become more proactive by having their breasts removed and reconstructed early, she said.

Onojobi also informed the audience of proper time to perform self-breast examinations, which is ideally once a month, best following menstruation.  Historically, African American women have often been diagnosed with more aggressive forms of breast cancer that may not be amenable to current treatment, while others do not seek treatment until the cancer has progressed, due to many factors including less access to health care, she said.

The funds donated to the HU Cancer Center will go towards providing free mammograms for women who are uninsured or whose insurance does not cover the procedure.

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