On Oct. 24, the University of Florida College of Pharmacy in Lake Nona held its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon. Students spoke about the risks and signs of breast cancer, the importance of breast self-exams, how to find more information for those who seek assistance and much more. Dr. C. David Smith, a family physician, spoke about specific cases he has seen in practice and the importance of the entire healthcare team working together in conjunction with the patient for patient empowerment and the best possible therapeutic outcomes. Jessica Lewis, a representative for the American Cancer Society, also spoke about the services and resources provided to those battling breast cancer and how pharmacists can be part of the movement through fundraising efforts.
D. Garrett Smith, a third year pharmacy student at the UF campus here in Medical City, is the current president of the Beta Beta Chapter of Kappa Epsilon. Kappa Epsilon is a co-ed professional pharmaceutical fraternity made up of more than 40 chapters across the country. The Beta Beta Chapter received the title of Most Outstanding Chapter for the 2016-2017 year at the National Convention this summer in New Orleans. The frat’s two primary national projects are breast and ovarian cancer awareness.
“The organization on the national level was founded in 1921 to promote women in pharmacy and has since evolved into a co-ed organization that welcomes individuals from all walks of life and promotes the success of all future and current pharmacists. The national projects arose as a result of the impact these two cancers have had on our founders and many other notable members across the country. At the end of the day, cancer affects us all. Therefore, Kappa Epsilon will continue to advocate for, support, and encourage all individuals affected by all types of cancer,” Smith stated.
At the luncheon, the fraternity presented a check for $10,423 to the American Cancer Society as part of the small organization’s “10,000 Miles for 10,000 Dollars” fundraising initiative. Smith came up with the fundraiser idea when he was trying to convince his fellow chapter members to run a 10K with him.
“Many of our members were scared because they didn’t feel like they were in shape enough to do it. Well, then I figured I could start a running club. Then it hit me that we could actually start a fundraiser, and the ideas just took off from there. I also wanted to set a lofty goal and have it be somewhat attainable and not scare anyone off. This was a total group effort and would not have been possible without our amazing team. I am so proud of what we all accomplished together.“
Cancer affects all of us in some way or another. Smith mentions that it doesn’t matter if you’re just one person. One person is all it takes to inspire change and to help make a difference. “I feel like the most important takeaway from this is to know that you can make a difference. Through innovative ideas, much like the big ideas that are growing this unique community from the ground up, we have the power to inspire, to encourage, to support and to show people who are fighting for their lives that we are standing with them, and they are not alone. It just takes an idea and a strong community. Living in Lake Nona, we have the community part down pat!”