The Courage to Dare foundation hosted its third annual fashion fundraiser Sunday in Marquette’s Weasler Auditorium to raise awareness and increase education about breast cancer in West Africa and among the African American community in Wisconsin.
About 70 people attended the event, and proceeds from the night went to the Courage to Dare foundation. The organization aims to dispel myths that categorize breast cancer as a death sentence and misrepresent it as a sexually transmitted disease.
The gala included two fashion shows, a dance performance by Marquette’s hip hop group, Hype, a skit and several African praise dances, along with informational presentations about the disease and the foundation. The fashion shows featured mostly women’s clothing and jewelry from designers Chibuzo Aguwa, Wafrique Craft, Ella 1278 and May Vora Jewelry.
Bonnie Anderson, the program manager at Milwaukee Catholic Home, is a breast cancer survivor and mentor for Courage to Dare. She spoke at the gala and stressed that, despite the media’s glamorization of the breast cancer during October, it is an invasive disease that can be prevented if detected early.
“As a breast cancer survivor, there is nothing pretty or pink about breast cancer,” Anderson said.
Anderson advised all women to use clinical exams offered by their physicians. She also advocated for the use of preventive techniques such as monthly self-exams.
“You can survive breast cancer, ladies, if you are in tune with your body and make a point to remember that October is breast cancer awareness month, but we have these breasts every day of the year,” said Anderson.
Assistant Dean for the College of Communication Chioma Ugochukwu sits on the board of directors of Courage to Dare and served as one of the event’s MCs. She said she was very happy about the event’s turnout and hopes to continue education efforts for women.
“This is a very young organization, and we are trying to raise awareness – not only about breast cancer, but about the organization and what the organization is doing,” Ugochukwu said. “We are happy people actually showing their support, and hopefully we can continue with the mission of the organization.”
Juliet Aguawa, president of Courage to Dare, founded the organization to increase education efforts about the disease among women in West Africa and the African American community in Wisconsin. She was diagnosed with stage-three breast cancer at age 34.
“We can stand together to raise our voices and see that no woman has to think of this as a death sentence without trying,” Aguawa said.