The Cancer Research Club spreads awareness in hope of a pinker future


Emily Shull '25

The Cancer Research Club recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The pink ribbon, the symbol of breast cancer, honors survivors, remembers those lost, and symbolizes hope for a better future by spreading awareness about one of the most lethal and common cancers in women.  In 1985, the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries established October as breast cancer awareness month to draw more national attention to the severity of this disease, according to  Seniors Claudia El-Masry and Amelia Biase, founders and co-heads of the Cancer Research Club, discuss the importance of spreading awareness about breast cancer and its impact on members of the Upper School at Sacred Heart Greenwich.

Students receive pink cookies to show breast cancer awareness.  Emily Shull ’25

With the help of survivor and former First Lady Mrs. Elizabeth Ford, the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries instituted October as breast cancer awareness month, according to  These organizations hoped to educate Americans about the illness and fundraise for cancer research, according to

In the United States (US), one in eight women, or 12.5 percent, will battle breast cancer during their lives, according to  Although breast cancer has been the second deadliest cancer in the US since the 1990s, fatalities have declined in recent decades due to advanced screening, improved treatments, and detections at early stages, according to  Spreading awareness of this cancer reminds many women to go to their yearly mammogram appointments and to check their bodies, which can help spot cancer in the early stages before it has metastasized.  Amelia remarked on why founding the Cancer Research Club was especially important to her.

“Cancer has always been a cause that is important to me because growing up my mother had breast cancer,” Amelia said.  “I started the Cancer Research Club because I wanted to make a space at Sacred Heart where people could feel safe if they had a family member going through cancer.”

Since the beginning of the school year, the Cancer Research Club has raised over $4,500 with a yearly goal of $10,000.  Claudia and Amelia established the club this fall after they decided to merge it with their previous club, the Science Research Club. 

“The club is an opportunity for us to teach students about cancer research, and also, the latest things going on with cancer, as well as any progress that is being made in this field,” Claudia said.

Claudia and Amelia, with the help of the Cancer Research Club members, Mrs. Sarah Bergin, Upper School Dean of Students, and Mrs. Jennifer Bensen, Director of Student Leadership, Health, Wellness, composed a presentation to inform the Upper School about breast cancer October 24.  Mrs. Lisa Lyons-Young, Sacred Heart Director of Summer Programs and Lower School Library Assistant, and Mrs. Sandra Caruso P’18, ’20, ’23 spoke about their experiences battling and surviving breast cancer.  Both women emphasized the importance of preventive action against the disease and supporting those undergoing treatments. 

Breast cancer forms when cell tissues in the breast reproduce abnormally, according to

Mrs. Lyons-Young shares about her battle with breast cancer.  Emily Shull ’25  These rapidly growing cells sculpt into lumps or masses and metastasize, eventually reaching the lymph nodes.  Mrs. Lyons-Young and Mrs. Caruso explained how by checking their body regularly, women can spot malformations early on and combat cancer before it spreads.

“Mrs. Lyons-Young telling her own experiences we hoped would motivate more people to be passionate about checking their bodies and taking precautionary measures,” Amelia said.

Pink is a symbol of a hopeful future for all diagnosed with breast cancer, according to  The color represents people’s support and care for awareness and a better future.  By wearing splashes of pink and holding fundraisers for cancer research, students can contribute to breast cancer awareness month. Claudia and Amelia discussed how even just sharing a post on social media can help make a difference.

“The significance of breast cancer awareness month is really to highlight the cause and give people incentive to go back, revisit it, and ultimately, remember why it’s important,” Claudia said.  “The month also gives people an additional opportunity to learn about treatments and fundraise for cancer research, which is so important because the research needs to continue for people to get better.”

Featured Image by Emily Shull ’25