“Breast cancer awareness,” the preschool kids shouted back. “Cancer is yuck! No more cancer. Friendship cares!”
Dressed in hooded sweatshirts, hats, and pink or black shirts bearing the logo for Breast Cancer Awareness month at Friendship Baptist, more than three dozen students got ready to walk along the streets of midtown Bayonne to make the public aware of Breast Cancer Awareness month and to raise money for research.
Emily, one of the few dozen preschoolers at Friendship Baptist Church Day School grinned a little, but didn’t know what to say when pre-k teacher Connie Maksel asked where the class was going on this bright Tuesday morning in October.
Emily only blushed.
Camille grinned and said, “field trip,” as did Ryan, which was technically true, although Sean had a better answer, saying “We’re walking for breast cancer awareness.”
The kids and their teachers intended to walk through the neighborhood to raise money for cancer research.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast cancer is a group of cancer cells (malignant tumors) that starts in the cells of the breast. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. But men also get breast cancer, though it is much rarer. About one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. About 220,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. More than 40,000 die annually from it.
Although these kids are very young, their families most likely have been touched by some tragedy. This may be why the parents of the kids and some of the people where the parents are employed pledged a total of $1,600.
Although a sunny day, the air was cool enough for kids to bundle up, and some parents came along with baby strollers, to help support the effort.
Nearly all the staff and some of the kids wore t-shirts that support cancer awareness month, but some students wore their usual garb, such as a Captain America shirt.
Karen Worrell, director of the Friendship Baptist Daycare Center, wanted to support cancer research and make the public aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
One of the teachers, Gladys Lopez, had been part of a walk in Lincoln Park in Jersey City.
“I have a grandmother who has cancer,” Lopez said. “I wanted other people to be aware of breast cancer and get the community to support research.”
Holding signs and chanting slogans, the students and teachers made their way down 20th Street to Broadway, up Broadway to 27th Street where they crossed over to Avenue C, and back down to 20th Street. While some of the adults seemed tuckered out, the kids remained full of energy, pausing to pose for pictures on the front steps of the church.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.