Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 17, November 9, 2012
   
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  Members of the Campus Community Participate in 
American Cancer Society Event *

Members of the Campus Community Participate in 
American Cancer Society Event

Phyllis Gates, assistant director in the Institute Advising and Learning Assistance Center (at right), was diagnosed with breast cancer in February. Members of the women’s lacrosse team walked in support of Gates, the team’s academic liaison.
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Members of the Campus Community Participate in
American Cancer Society Event

The journey to end breast cancer may often start with a simple step. On Oct. 21, members of the Rensselaer campus community joined thousands of individuals to participate in the American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. The two-lap walk took place in Albany’s Washington Park. This year, more than 15,000 supported the Capital Region event.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

A Rensselaer employee for more than 25 years, Phyllis Gates is no stranger to breast cancer. In February, the assistant director in the Institute Advising and Learning Assistance Center discovered a tumor in her breast during a self-exam. Surgery followed, along with chemotherapy and more than 30 rounds of radiation.

“You never know when cancer will strike,” said Gates. “I was always one of those individuals who believed that breast cancer would never happen to me. This experience has taught me that you are never exempt. Don’t ignore the signs in your body. As a woman, yearly mammograms and self-examinations are important. After all, the self-exam is what saved me.”

“Even while going through chemo and radiation, I never missed a day of work due to my treatments,” Gates said. “My family and the RPI community have been my support system. I have a basket full of cards from so many folks at RPI, and that has meant a lot.”

Since 1993, 8 million cancer charity walkers across the country have raised more than $460 million through Making Strides events to help fight breast cancer. Last year alone, supporters helped to raise more than $60 million nationwide. The annual event honors breast cancer survivors, increases awareness, and also serves to raise funds to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with breast cancer research, information and services, and access to mammograms for women who need them.
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Members of the Campus Community Participate in 
American Cancer Society Event *

Audrey Stapleton, a junior majoring in geology who serves in the attack position for the women’s lacrosse team, said that team members planned to support the event. “The team is really excited about supporting this event,” Stapleton said. “We decided to participate in the walk because it is a great way for our team to show our support and appreciation to Phyllis, our academic liaison, especially since she has supported us in so many ways. It’s also a great way to reach out to others.”

The Rensselaer women’s hockey team also lent their continued support to this year’s event, hoping to reach their goal of raising $1,500.Team captains Kate Daniels, a senior defenseman and a mechanical engineering major; and Taylor Horton, a senior forward who is an interdisciplinary science major, said that many of the players have been affected by cancer in some form or another.

“Our team is proud to participate in the Making Strides event,” Daniels said. “It’s a great way for us to show support, not only for our family and friends, but also for members of the greater community. People of all walks of life are impacted by breast cancer, and the spirit of coming together and fighting for a cure provides a uniting spirit of hope.”

“The American Cancer Society is so proud of its lengthy and multifaceted partnership with RPI,” said Diana Martin, regional vice president for the American Cancer Society. “Together we have championed many initiatives including a record-breaking Relay for Life event, an investment in breast cancer research and awareness through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the establishment of a tobacco-free campus. RPI’s leadership, staff, faculty, and students are at the forefront of these cancer-fighting efforts to the great benefit of our community.”

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 17, November 9, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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