Mallory Roberson, senior health promotion and wellness major, and Zeta Tau Alpha member, places a yogurt top in a box to be shipped back to Yoplait. Ten cents for each top will be donated by the company to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, an organization commited to breast cancer research.

Nathan Carter


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, for campus sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, the perfect time for the annual Pink Week.

Zeta Tau Alpha’s official philanthropy is breast cancer awareness and education. Each of the Zetas has known someone who has had breast cancer, or a family member who has had the disease. One member of the sorority who was hit particularly hard by the disease’s impact was Megan Wawrzyniak.

“Her mother was diagnosed her junior year of high school and [she] lost her in her senior year,” Mallory Roberson, senior health promotion and wellness major, said. “We’ve seen Megan go through a lot of the personal hard times with it, so as sisters, we’re there for her.”

Last year, ZTA joined a parade at Freeman hospital in honor of Wawrzyniak’s mother, who died two days after Christmas. The ladies do everything they can to support their sorority sister.

“We always make her feel like she’s part of everybody’s family in here,” Zeta president Kaylee Washburn said. “We’re just there for her if she needs to talk. Last year we did a parade in honor of her mother. We all wore our ZTA ‘Think Pink’ T-shirts. Anytime she needs to talk or vent about it, cry about it, we’re there no matter what. If it’s midnight, raining or snowing, we’ll be there for her.”

Lauren Todd is a newer member of the ZTA sorority and lost a close friend of the family as well.

“My mom’s best friend died from breast cancer,” she said. “Throughout my whole life she was like my second mother because my mom had known her since junior high, so it hit us really hard when she died, especially my mom.

“She went through breast cancer and did an alternative to chemo and it seemed to help her but she relapsed. It came back in her liver, and that’s pretty much a death sentence when it comes to cancer. She just went downhill from there. She fought hard, but you can only fight for so long.”

Not all cancer stories end negatively though. Roberson said her aunt has survived her breast cancer and just recently had her second breast removed as a precautionary measure. Despite the side effects of the medications and chemotherapy, Roberson’s aunt continued to fight.

“She lost all her hair and all that but she was really positive the whole time and was really strong in her faith and she just had a really awesome attitude about it the whole time,” Roberson said. “I think it made it easier on our whole family seeing how positive she was. 

“It was easier on us because it is hard to see anybody you love go through something like that, but to see her getting up every day and smiling and being like, ‘This sucks but I’m going to get through it.’ She did. They got rid of it but the side effects from the medicine have been really hard on her and the type of breast cancer she had, they said it’s very common for it to come back so this past week they removed her other breast just to make sure and be cautious so hopefully we won’t have to worry about anything else. I got an awesome attitude about her fight so she prays every day for her body to be healed and so do we. She’s strong—very strong.”

Whether the story ends in triumph or tragedy, such stories motivate the ladies to work hard to raise money for the cause. 

“I’m just a new member but I’ve already seen how so many people  are appreciate just because they know someone with breast cancer, the fact that that’s our philanthropy and that we’re doing a whole week devoted to it—they really think it’s cool and want to see what they can do to come out and support us,” Todd said.

Last year, ZTA raised over $3,000 from their fundraiser. Washburn said close to two-thirds of the money came from selling shirts at the Pink Out football game and that the ZTAs would appreciate help at this year’s game.

“Last year we sold out before halftime and they’re $10,” she said. 

“Granted we’re a smaller university so we don’t raise as much as say Mizzou or KU, but I feel that the money we raise helps just as much as the money they raise.”

Money will go to the ZTA Foundation which will divide it between the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure and other breast cancer awareness and educational services. 

“I really feel like knowledge is power and us helping to educate the public in general speaks volumes—what you do to check for lumps and what to do if you find one, to know that there is a support system for people who are going through the breast cancer battle.”



Pink Week Schedule


10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Wednesday


The Oval


7 p.m., Thursday

Kiss Away Cancer & Luminary Walk

The Oval


7 p.m., Friday

Open Mic Night

Lion’s Den


2 p.m., Saturday

Pinkout Football Game

Fred G. Hughes Stadium