Eric Rowe-Staff Writer
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this fall, Dordt joined the effort, placing an emphasis on community through a partnership between Dordt volleyball and the Promise Community Health Center (PCHC).
“Dordt has great potential to impact the community—it can reach the students on campus, the students’ families at home, and the supporters of the institution in the community,” said Brittany Hamm, clinical director of PCHC.
PCHC is a local clinic offering health care to those who would not otherwise receive it. Their Sister to Sister program is a focused effort to raise breast cancer awareness. Its main goal is “increasing access to breast cancer screening through free breast exams and mammograms and providing education through community based gatherings of women,” (PCHC website).
Dordt volleyball hosted a Sister to Sister event at their match on Oct. 9. There was time set apart to recognize and honor the families and individuals whose lives are affected by breast cancer, reminding us that breast cancer is not a distant concern.
“This is something many individuals have to face here in northwest Iowa, not just ‘somewhere else,’” said Hamm.
The graphics at the game, including banners hanging in the lobby during the match, were created by the advanced graphic design class and were focused on northwest Iowa statistics.
The coaching staff and PCHC had been planning this cooperation since spring. Coach Chad Hanson said that he and the volleyball team had a desire to support and promote women’s health in the community. The team prayed for women in the area who have breast cancer in the weeks before the game.
“It’s a new venture, and we are discovering how to make a difference,” Hanson said.
The hardest part of the awareness efforts at Dordt College and in a Christian community is evaluating your own heart, and figuring out how to respect privacy, while helping in a public way, said Hanson.
One way the team has helped is through prayer groups within the team. The women in prayer groups are involved with individuals working through breast cancer in a more personal way by inviting them to the pre-game dinner, and to the match so they could watch and be there, said Jill Schouten, freshman volleyball player.
The women on Dordt’s team are connected because of their sport, but they didn’t come together and host this event to support volleyball.
“It’s not about Dordt Volleyball,” said Hanson. “It’s about encouraging the individuals and families who are working through these tough issues.”
Additional reporting by Rebekah Dykhuizen