The Rho Mu Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. raised $950 at its annual BRAvo Breast Cancer Awareness Showcase on April 7.
The event, which took place in the Student Activities Complex at 7 p.m., showcased bras decorated by 13 on-campus organizations, ranging from Greek life organizations to political and athletic groups. Each registered group submitted a bra decorated to reflect the organization’s values and nominated a model to showcase their work with a walk down a makeshift runway.
Jordan Richardson, a junior and president of AKA, spoke about the history of BRAvo at the University of Richmond.
“We’ve been established on campus for about twenty-five years,” she said, “so [BRAvo] started [about] halfway through that.”
Richardson, who hosted BRAvo for the first time this year, is confident next year’s proceeds will exceed this year’s earnings.
“We raised $950 this year, and I think that’s really good considering [COVID],” Richardson said. “And everyone’s still kind of hesitant to come out, so I’m grateful to the people who did come out that they’re willing to donate and really engage.”
Alpha Sigma Kappa, a sorority created for women in STEM, took home BRAvo’s first-place prize, followed by UR Players in second place and the Rho Rho Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in third.
BRAvo raised funds through ticket sales for the event and additional donations that equated to points toward a chosen group’s score in the judging process. The judging panel consisted of three people, including Ali Mayer, assistant director of Greek life, Shannon Jones, director of biological instruction and Johann Stegmeir theater and dance professor.
Jones, who was on the judging panel for her second year after forming relationships with many of the students, vocalized her appreciation for the event.
“It’s definitely for a good cause, spreading awareness about a very important issue,” Jones said.
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Erin Steigleder, education manager of the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, delivered an informative presentation on breast cancer. Steigleder began with a brief pop quiz to test the audience on their knowledge of breast cancer. She then discussed methods of preventing breast cancer, providing information about the local resource Every Woman’s Life, which offers free cancer screenings to adult patients with or without health insurance.
Steigleder’s presentation also highlighted the discrepancies in both access to treatment and methods of said treatment between Black and white women diagnosed with breast cancer. She discussed differing survival rates of Black and white women diagnosed with breast cancer, with Black women having an 82% survival rate compared to a 91% survival rate for white women.
The presentation also displayed the need for increased funding and focus on the healthcare of people of color. Clinical trials, which intend to find cures and new pathways of treatment through their research, face barriers that could be addressed by increased participation and funding. She discussed the detrimental effect of COVID-19 on preventative measures against breast cancer — specifically how Asian American and Native American women were now significantly less likely to undergo preventative screenings.
First-year Nick Cicchetti, recruited by the Virginia Eta Chapter of Pi Beta Phi as its official model, said his favorite part of the event was the walk.
“I didn’t even know what song they were going to play me,” he said, “that was improv.”
Richardson commended BRAvo’s models for their spirited performances.
“I love the enthusiasm, I love the engagement, I love the commitment to really portraying whatever role they had, doing the best that they could,” she said. “Ultimately, they’re the stars of the show for BRAvo.”
Contact Features Writer Avery Moore firstname.lastname@example.org.
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