Given that October is a time for promoting breast cancer awareness, which is the purpose of the "Pink Out" movement, Saline's top school officials made a strong showing for the cause this month.
Saline Area School district administrators and Board of Ed trustees wore pink ties, shirts, jackets, dresses, and accessories to show their support. They also shared personal stories and thoughts with the Saline Post on their reasons for doing so.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a worldwide annual campaign that spans thousands of organizations to highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness, education, and research.
"I was glad to see the enthusiasm around 'Pink Out' at the Board meeting," said board member Jennifer Steben. She also highlighted Principal David Raft and the Saline High School Key Club's fundraising efforts within the district this month.
"It's so important to build awareness and promote early detection," she added. "A few years ago when I was at Pleasant Ridge, we had a really strong, passionate team of volunteers. Within our group, two were affected by this disease within a year of each other. I couldn't imagine Saline Area Schools without those women and my thoughts also went to their elementary-aged children & spouses that also were affected.
"It's important to remember that this can and will hit close to home one day. By discussing it, encouraging mammograms based on your doctor recommendations, and supporting awareness, hopefully it will help another family. I look forward to doing more advocacy as a Board. Thank you to all that joined us in Pink Out!"
Fellow trustee Michael McVey shared his experience seeing a close friend lose their mother to breast cancer 30 years ago.
"Over the next few years, her long struggle was not lost on me or my friends," McVey said. "We made and kept out regular medical appointments. We came to learn that checkups that may once have seemed overly invasive and awkward might be the very thing that would keep us healthy in the long run. Being healthy and in the lives of our loved ones was worth a little discomfort."
Superintendent Scot Graden lent his own powerful story to the board's display this month and the greater effort behind it.
"I lost my father, Earl Graden to brain cancer in June, 2018, " Graden said. "I witnessed firsthand how destructive cancer can be to the human body, while he received outstanding medical attention from caring medical staff - the disease was able to take its course.
"I know that many advancements have been made in the area of treating and beating cancer. It's my hope that by raising awareness and supporting research, early detection and new methods will help save countless lives."
Trustee Tim Austin joined Steben in recognizing Principal Raft and the Saline High School Key Club for their efforts to do their part in supporting the fight against cancer, adding that cancer is more common than he wished it were as he shared his own personal story of cancer rearing its head in his own family life.
"Sadly most people don’t have to look too far to see or know someone that has been impacted by this disease," he said. "My mom has stressed the importance of self breast exams, and mammograms because early detection is so important. I believe that was the key in my moms battle with this horrible disease. My mom has been through two bouts of breast cancer and she doesn’t feel she is ever cancer free she is just in remission. Early detection is key!"
Board President Paul Hynek emphasized the value of early detection and took his opportunity to speak on the subject to bring the public's attention to his understanding of the great strides most healthy insurance providers have taken to make treatment at the earliest stages of the disease more accessible.
"Virtually all health policies now contain preventative care benefits," Hynek said. "Back in 2001 I had my first surgery for skin cancer and have had three more since then, the last being in 2017. Through education and regular full body skin exams, I am now familiar with signs and keep a close watch.
"My advice to everyone is to get into the doctor and have those tests and screenings done at regular intervals. I have lost close friends and family members far younger than me to cancer."
Trustee Heidi Pfannes added that "So many of us, our friends and family have been impacted by cancer. We must stand together as we continue the fight and support the efforts to find a cure."