Interview: UMCP aKDPhi - Breast Cancer Awareness Event
The University of Maryland’s Associate Chapter of alpha Kappa Delta Phi is back with their annual Breast Cancer Awareness event!
As aKDPhi’s national philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness is highlighted every October during Breast Cancer Awareness month by each chapter of the multicultural sorority. By hosting service events during BCA month, aKDPhi strives to raise awareness in their local communities and fundraise for BCA non-profit organizations.
For our readers at the University of Maryland, it is the annual “Step with aKDPhi” event that the sisters of the associate chapter dedicate months of preparation to as part of their Breast Cancer Awareness Month initiative.
“Step with aKDPhi”
“This will be our ninth year holding this major event, so we’ve gained plenty of experience in event-planning and utilizing the best methods for executing an educational and engaging experience with the UMD community.”
When it comes to organizing a large event, behind the scenes are dedicated committees of sisters that oversee planning, outreach, and budgeting. After 5 months, every baked goodies sold, restaurant fundraisers held, and online raffles awarded all culminates into an unforgettable night of games, speaker presentations, as well as a live dance competition.
This year, the 9th annual “Step with aKDPhi” event is transitioning into a virtual format! The event will be presented as a pre-recorded Youtube video, that will be posted on the UMCP aKDPhi Youtube Channel on October 23 (tomorrow!) at 6:00PM EST. So what can viewers expect from this year’s event?
“This video, released on October 23, will focus on informing our community about breast cancer and will feature speakers, a Q&A panel, performances from other organizations, and a raffle where 100% of proceeds will go towards breast cancer research and rehabilitation.”
Before the pandemic, the month of October was originally planned to host a plethora of fundraising and tabling events, as well as the charity dinner and performance showcase during the “Step with aKDPhi” event.
“After the pandemic, we had to be creative by redesigning this event into a completely virtual version. We were able to overcome obstacles from hosting all of our events online and shifted gears to a new way of having meaningful conversations about breast cancer.”
For the sisters, starting these meaningful conversations has always been second nature. Outside of BCA month, the sorority has become an all-encompassing platform for advocacy. When asked, the sorority mentioned one of their favorite events to host was Week of Women, a series of podcasts aimed at addressing social issues and sharing thought-provoking stories not just for women.
“Week of Women creates a platform for discussion of all types of topics—ones people normally wouldn’t talk about, such as periods, domestic violence, and human trafficking. Through all of our events, we hope to not only spread awareness but to reflect and take action.”
Their drive to empower doesn’t apply to just UMCP sisters, but in fact, to all 55 chapters of the sorority. At it’s core, aKDPhi upholds 5 pillars - sisterhood, leadership, scholarship, service, and Asian awareness- and if you look closely, you will see aspects of each pillar woven into the…
When it comes to BCA, the women of aKDPhi have also taken the opportunity to address and provide support for BCA within the Asian-American community.
“Due to language barriers, cultural stigmas, and limited support networks, many Asians may keep the illness secret or private within the family, or even worry if they’ll become ostracized once others know about their diagnosis,” said the sisters.
“Breast cancer usually has a high survival rate if caught early, but because of these cultural taboos, many Asians get diagnosed too late. This is where aKDPhi steps in: we strive to promote breast cancer awareness and teach various prevention methods for detecting breast cancer early.”
As the sisters have taken away, engaging in philanthropy not only provides the opportunity to help others but can deepen one’s understanding of social responsibility. The key is commitment: what you put in equates to what you get out of an opportunity!
“Our philanthropy has provided us the opportunity to learn and reflect from survivors, medical professionals, and different personal stories in our community. Each sister has been deeply inspired from these experiences in terms of female empowerment and supporting the mental and physical health of others, which has brought us a lot closer.”
So if you’re part of an organization and you’re looking to expand your philanthropic efforts or just inspire your members, find a community you care about: just know that compassion can always be strengthened and cultivated.
“Our impact in the BCA community has only strengthened over the years, as we were even recognized on a national level in aKDPhi for increasing our donations by 167% from 2018 to 2019. . . Our sisters have gone above and beyond in their efforts to support BCA, and it is with these initiatives that have encouraged sisters to continue to take action and advocate for other important causes with the skills they’ve gained.
So how can you get involved in raising Breast Cancer Awareness during and outside BCA month?
“The first step is to educate yourself about breast cancer, such as knowing the risk factors (modifiable/lifestyle and non-modifiable), early detection and diagnosis, treatments, after treatments, common myths, and reading the stories of victims and survivors. You can also donate to local and national non-profit charities, as provided in our BCA resources guide in our linktree: https://linktr.ee/umcpakdphi.”