KISSIMMEE – A night for female students to fellowship and begin the writing of 120 letters for breast cancer patients was organized by three Johnson University Florida staff members wanting to serve their students and community.
Student Community and Resident Director, Micaela Cox; Athlete and International Students Admissions Counselor, Andrea Archuleta; and Admissions Counselor, Alexis Fennimore, organized “Think Pink,” a night of games, dessert, nail-painting, and letter-writing for patients right next door at a local hospital.
Cox said the event went well, as they were able to minister and get to know students. She will be sending the letters to Orlando Health’s Breast Cancer Center, where a support center employee can hand them out to patients she regularly sees.
Cox said her goal is to have all the letters done by Thanksgiving. Since October is a time where patients might be flooded with letters, and the holidays can be hard for them, she said this makes it more special.
A box sits in the Student Life office, where female faculty, staff, and students can drop off the approximately 75 remaining letters.
Cox, Archuleta, and Fennimore all have different experiences with breast cancer. Fennimore’s great grandmother and Cox’s mother-in-law are both survivors, but the aunt of Cox’s husband passed away from breast cancer.
She said that when they were thinking about a girl’s night, and it was October, it seemed like something they absolutely needed to do.
Archuleta’s godmother battled and passed away from breast cancer, and she knows others who have lost their mothers from or are still struggling with it. Now she will wear a ribbon or do anything else to raise awareness, including this idea.
“You don’t even know who is walking next to you that may be affected by it on a personal level,” Archuleta said. “[To] be any voice or peace is what kind of encouraged me.”
Cox and Archuleta remember times that family and members of their community supported their loved ones, and the impact that it had.
“Verbal affirmation and words of support are so helpful, because you never know what day is going to be a rough day,” Cox said. “We don’t know what day they are going to open these letters – it could be a day that they’re sitting there getting their fifteenth round of chemo, or maybe they just got diagnosed. That might be the day they need an extra boost from anybody.”
Hand-in-hand with this community effort, Cox, Archuleta, and Fennimore will continue to support students.
“There are faculty and staff here that really do care about our student body that are trying to pour into their lives and minister to them, and we are so open to getting to know them,” Fennimore said. “We want to be able to meet them where they are and hear them and provide activities and events for them that they are going to enjoy, because we know that contributes to their college experience and what they remember.”
Throughout this month JUFL athletes have worn and dyed their hair pink, and faculty and students have pink and ribboned nails. Breast Cancer Awareness is on quite a few minds, and writing letters for patients might become ongoing, making its way into Galentine’s Day and a “Think Pink” 2021.