Success Stories

Student raises cancer awareness

Samantha Knox

Many young people think breast cancer only affects women over 40. Samantha Knox is working to change that.

Knox, a senior public and nonprofit administration major, was appointed to the Susan G. Komen Young Women’s National Advisory Council (YWNAC). Eleven college students from around the country were nominated for the council.

Like her new colleagues, Knox brings an impressive resume to her national appointment. This is the third year she has held a leadership post at Colleges Against Cancer. The student group annually sponsors Grand Valley’s Relay for Life, a 24-hour team event that last year had participation from 100 teams and raised more than $153,000.

Colleges Against Cancer also promotes breast cancer awareness through a series of popular T-shirts. Knox said the group will plan a Great American Smokeout event in November and a panel discussion in January about cervical cancer awareness.

The YWNAC is a new organization established to reach college students. “People have a misconception that you don’t need to worry about breast cancer or get your breasts examined until you reach 40,” Knox said.

She said the group has met several times since it organized in the summer; members plan to use social networking Web sites like misplace and Facebook to reach college students, in addition to packaging materials targeted for younger readers.

Of the 11 women on the YWNAC, Knox said four were diagnosed with a breast cancer before reaching 23. Knox’s interest in cancer awareness and prevention began in earnest when her cousin was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the plasma type of white blood cells and can lead to bone deterioration.

“He’s doing pretty well now. He’s 40 and has good days and bad days,” she said.

Through her work at the YWNAC, Knox could very well help other people have more good days than bad.

by Matt Marn

This story was filed with the tags: Helping the Community, Undergraduate Student, Volunteerism