By Project Pink Team
This year, a team of four sophomores — Aditi Nair, Anika Prasad, Elizabeth Chettipally and Netra Vijay at Strawberry Crest High School — chose to compete in HOSA’s Community Awareness event. HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) is a global student-led organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health with a mission to empower future health professionals to become leaders in the international health community.
Our team, Project Pink, chose to raise awareness for breast cancer. One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer and, as young women, we decided to make a change, motivated because one of our team members lost a family member to breast cancer after a fierce battle.
Project Pink’s mission is to raise awareness for breast cancer, its prevention and treatment methods and get the community involved in making a change by breaking social stigmas, giving women hope and empowering them. We launched Project Pink through a schoolwide Pink Out day and published an article in our school newspaper, Crest Critique.
To gain understanding, we educated ourselves by gathering informational materials and training models from Moffitt Cancer Center and talking to Dr. Sachdev, a primary care physician and Dr. Robinson, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida and a breast cancer survivor and advocate. We attended a webinar by Shivan, a medical student at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Through these discussions, our team realized that women survivors need a robust support system.
To educate people, we made brochures and display boards about breast cancer, collaborated with Cory Lake Isles by setting up a booth and connecting with an older crowd, targeted the middle-age group by setting up a display table at local libraries, published a website and launched an Instagram and YouTube channel to educate youth and then partnered with our Strawberry Crest HOSA chapter and other school clubs by giving presentations with quick facts and urging the importance of early detection. Project Pink distributed pamphlets and posted infographics and posters on bulletin boards in our community and school, as well as conducted virtual workshops about self-examination and what to do if you have a sign or symptom.
We also partnered with schools, universities, businesses, malls and supermarkets, sharing our flyers and interacting with people. The partnerships we established truly shaped our project; specifically, the National Breast Cancer Foundation, where we are working with their HOPE Kit program.
Project Pink has reached out to over 13,000 people, and we have big plans for continuing the movement.
Project Pink won first place in the district and will attend the state competition in April. Follow us on Instagram @projectpink_.