The Kentucky State University National Alumni Association hosted its inaugural breast cancer awareness walk/run as part of Kentucky State University Homecoming activities Oct. 11.

Kellea Tibbs, director of alumni relations, said alumna Crystal Woodard, who is currently battling breast cancer, planted the seed for the event.

“I want to bring awareness to breast cancer and those in need while battling breast cancer and to acknowledge the James Graham Brown Cancer Center,” Woodard said. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2018 with triple negative type, a more aggressive form of breast cancer that affects African American women.”

Woodard said she wanted to support the James Graham Brown Cancer Center because they help women who have no basic resources, like rides to chemotherapy treatments and homeless women who are battling breast cancer. The donations from walk/run will go to help breast cancer patients by purchasing cab vouchers and bus tickets and any other needs these indigent patients might have, Woodard said.

“My inspiration for this event was a dear friend who died of triple negative breast cancer after a three-year battle,” Woodard said. “The James Brown Cancer Center helped her in her hour of need.”

Woodard wants to be a source of support for women with breast cancer.

“Many times, we celebrate our beautiful survivors of breast cancer, but there are still many women, especially African American women, who succumb and die from breast cancer,” Woodard said. “This week on the news they continue to report that African American women continue to die at higher rates than other groups of women of breast cancer.”

Tibbs said special guests of the event were Kentucky State University First Lady Adrienne Allen-Brown, Kentucky Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton and representatives from the James Brown Cancer Center.

Tibbs said the community is involved, as well, with donations coming from businesses such as Kroger and Starbucks.

The breast cancer awareness walk/run is the first such event organized by an HBCU national alumni association, Tibbs said.

To make a donation to benefit the Kentucky State University alumni breast cancer fund, click here.