Greek Life Unites in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

This past Sunday students from Manhattan College participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park. Bailey Shaw/Courtesy

On Sunday, Oct. 16, students from Manhattan College participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Central Park hosted by the American Cancer Society. This year, in addition to MC’s athletes and other clubs, the college’s sororities and fraternities came together with the hopes of finding a cure.

MC’s four Greek life organizations were inspired to walk together because some members have been personally affected by cancer.

Nicole Fella, a sister in Sigma Delta Tau, said that she has been attending the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk since 2005.

“My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, when we started our Making Strides tradition,” Fella said.

“As a single mother to me, we battled her diagnosis together and she has been cancer free for nearly 11 years now.”

“Since joining Sigma Delta Tau, I have wanted to share my passion with my sisters because we promote women’s health and social awareness, and I believe this walk embodies that,” Fella said.

Greek life as a whole said they have been discussing the walk since early in the semester. They decided to unify and work out a lot of the details early so they could focus on the cause as the event came closer. Each organization had a couple of representatives who were passionate about the cause and wanted lead the event.

Kimberly Pusey, president of Alpha Upsilon Pi, said that breast cancer has affected both her life and the lives of her Greek sisters.

“Participating in the breast cancer walk is important me because my grandmother is a survivor. Finding out that my grandma had breast cancer was earth-shattering. Breast cancer is a tough disease to beat but I have seen many people conquer cancer and I hope to eventually see a cure,” Pusey said.

“The sisters of Alpha Upsilon Pi participate in this walk annually because we have had alumni who passed away, and others that have had friends and relatives who have fought or who are currently fighting cancer.”

Alpha Upsilon Pi walked with Greek life but choose not to wear the same t-shirts as all of the other groups. They said that they wanted to make their alumni feel included with the active sisters. Alpha Upsilon Pi also said that the sisters are grateful that Manhattan College Greek life has shown such strong support for this cause.

Both of MC’s fraternities also wanted to walk as a whole at the breast cancer walk. They said that unifying Greek life is a good way to have everyone come together and meet the rest of the Greek life community.

Matthew Mattera, president of Alpha Phi Delta, said that fighting breast cancer is important to him because he has many women in his life who have survived it.

“Walking at the Breast Cancer Walk is important to me because within the past seven years my mom, my grandmother and my aunt all had breast cancer. They all survived and no one has it anymore but that’s why I walk. When my mom had breast cancer it was the worst summer of my entire life,” Mattera said.

“The summer of 2009 brought life into perspective. It showed me how life can come and take you on any path, especially with cancer.”

“You never know what tomorrow is going to bring. We counted our blessings and did everything we had to do to keep her going. My family came together and everyone was there for each other but it was a very traumatic time for my family and for myself,” Mattera said.

Alpha Phi Delta said they think the walk is important because the majority of the brothers know someone who has been affected by cancer. They said they want to support each other and promote Greek life as a whole.

The brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon said that they felt it was important that all of Greek life is going and want to change something for the better in hopes to change the poor perception of Greek life.

The brothers said they want to represent the school in a good way and do something for the better and to show good character.

Guillermo Garcia, a brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon, said all of his brothers supported him when his aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Us walking together shows solidarity. About 3 years ago my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went into a state of depression and we as a family had to be with her and support her. She is good now, she recovered and she’s finally happy and enjoying life,” Garcia said.

“My brothers know what happened in my family and they are taking away time out of their weekend to come and support me and this amazing cause and I appreciate them.”

Ronald Contreras, president of Delta Kappa Epsilon, said that this year’s breast cancer walk was unique because all of MC’s Greek organizations united for one cause.

“We figured it would be good for the brothers and sisters to keep track of each other and donate together in the name of Greek life and Manhattan College,” Contreras said.

“When I joined the fraternity I wanted to do good in the world with my brothers and I thought this would be a great opportunity to do so.”

There is no doubt that cancer is incredibly difficult but when it happens to one of your family members, your perspective changes. There is always a possibility but no one ever imagines it actually happening to someone they love.

Christina DeBartolo, a sister from Alpha Upsilon Pi, said she was impacted by breast cancer when one of her coaches was diagnosed in 2008.

“That’s when it hit close to home. She was like a second mother to me and she lost her fight in 2013. It was extremely difficult to deal with. My best friend’s mother was also recently diagnosed. You don’t realize how awful this disease is until it happens to you or those you love. It’s really sad and heartbreaking.”

“I walk to show support to those I love, and to all of those who have been affected. When my teammates and I first started walking for my coach, it was a great bonding experience. It brought all of us closer together and it changed my outlook on life in a way,” DeBartolo said.

“I realized that I should never take life for granted. It also made me cherish my relationship with my coach so much more. As terrible as the situation was, it brought her and I closer. In a way I’m thankful. She has taught me many lessons and really is the one behind making me who I am,” she said.

“It is important to me that my sorority and all of Greek life walks. American Cancer Society is our philanthropy and this walk holds a special place in all of the hearts of my sisters, myself included. It’s a great bonding experience for us and we get to contribute to raising money to find a cause for something so widespread. It’s also just a really nice thing to do.”