Earth Day Yogathon to promote breast cancer awareness and prevention

By Rachel Ravelli

A flash yoga took place on April 15th in front of the FAC. (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)
A flash yoga took place on April 15th in front of the FAC. (Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts Registered Student Organization Protect Our Breasts will be hosting its fourth annual Yogathon Wednesday at the Fine Arts Center.

The group hopes to raise awareness and money for research in breast cancer prevention through the event. One in eight women develops breast cancer, making the need for both recognition and fundraising urgent, according to the Protect Our Breasts website.

“We know science, government and industry have yet to agree on a solution; and we can’t wait until they do,” the website said.

According to Lia Delaney, a member of the organization, Protect Our Breasts’ executive national branch is hosted by the Isenberg School of Management. Students who are a part of the Isenberg Protect Our Breasts chapter get academic credit for being part of the alliance.

Chapters such as those at Syracuse and Bates College host their own benefits where they plan one-on-one meetings with students to share information about healthy choices that prevent cancer.

Protect Our Breasts increases awareness of environmental toxins in resources and their chemical effects on breasts, said Delaney.

The foundation has reached over 8,000 followers on Facebook, showing a large impact through social media. The organization hopes its upcoming yoga-themed fundraiser increases this follower count.

Wednesday’s event will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with new yoga sessions held each hour.

The event will host instructors from studios in the area, including the Recreation Center and independent facilities in Amherst. Delaney said she expects there will be a variety of yoga styles and levels of difficulty as a result of having this diversity in instruction.

Delaney said that anyone can sign up for the Yogathon. The ticket price is $10 for students and $20 for non-students, but prices go up $5 for those who sign up on the day of the event.

This year’s Yogathon will also be the first year allowing team sign-ups. Those who wish to participate can sign up on www.protectourbreasts.org/yogathon.

Samples of toxin-free soap and shampoos, such as those from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, will be handed out during the event.

Tip cards will also be provided that list chemicals of concern as well as foods, cosmetics, plastics and other miscellaneous items that cause gradual harm to women’s health.

The goal of the card distribution is to explain how organic brands are healthy alternatives to mainstream products that are contributing to causes of cancer.

“This is the single fundraising event which supports the national branch, so the club is hoping for a large turnout,” Delaney said. “It is up to us to stop breast cancer before it starts.”

Rachel Ravelli can be reached at [email protected]