U-Knight for a Cure Raises $9,000


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By Leo Garkisch

Fifty-six low-income women and men across the northwest suburbs will have access to free mammograms thanks to the more than $9,000 The Underground (The U) raised for Northwest Community Healthcare’s Gift-a-Mammogram program at last Friday’s U-Knight for a Cure football game against Elk Grove.

Despite the sub-forty-degree October weather, a sea of pink engulfed the south end of the bleachers at George Gattas Memorial Stadium as hundreds of students showed their support for the cause by wearing the 1,250 pink t-shirts sold throughout the week.

Although the amount raised by selling raffle tickets and t-shirts and raising donations wasn’t able to match last year’s $11,000, U leader senior Liam Benson is pleased with the output.

“Nine thousand dollars is still a ton of money,” Benson said. “At the end of the day, we’re helping people out. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Benson thinks that U-Knight for a Cure will gain momentum in years to come as it gains exposure and The U reaches out to more businesses, allowing more people to come to understand the impacts that donations have.

Underground leader senior Alec Busiel said that having big-ticket prizes such as iPads in the raffles has shown promise in the past, adding that bringing them back could be an option for increasing donations in future years.

Regardless of the amount raised, Benson said that The U wanted to ensure that the money goes to the most effective cause. This being said, and with new breast cancer treatment and prevention techniques being developed, The U might be inclined to look into other options in years to come.

A study published in the British Medical Journal in February 2014 suggested that medical professionals re-evaluate the risk-reward consequences of mammograms. Some researchers have become skeptical of whether or not women should continue to get mammograms regularly.

In fact, this week, the American Cancer Society issued a new set of guidelines suggesting that women get their first screening at age 45 instead of the previously recommended age 40, citing that early mammograms are more likely to be harmful than helpful when women are younger because they potentially lead to false-positives, over-diagnosis, and over-treatment, which can expose patients to unnecessarily stressful and adverse conditions.

With this in mind, Busiel and Benson said that The U would certainly be open to supporting other ways to help at-risk women and men if further research does indeed find that mammograms are not as beneficial as previously thought.

“It would only make sense that we would send [the money] to the place where we would have the best results,” Benson said.