SACO - Thornton Academy is awash in a sea of pink this month as the school’s new Pink Club hosts a variety of events designed to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is held each October.
The club, founded by seniors Chloe Eisenhaur and Samantha Schildroth, is intended to make students and faculty alike think about the impact of breast cancer, which has affected a number of teachers at Thornton Academy through the years, as well as many family members of students at the school.
“We wanted to leave our mark on TA and this is a really important cause,” said Eisenhaur, who so far in her young life has not been directly affected by breast cancer, although a number of her mother’s friends have dealt with the disease.
Eisenhaur said she and Schildroth first had the idea for the Pink Club during the summer of 2011, but with their fall sports commitments, the girls missed out on an opportunity to hold any events last October.
This year, however, with a rejuvenated membership of about 30 students, the club has already held a number of events and fundraisers and is planning even more.
At the Oct. 13 football game against Cheverus, the Pink Club just about sold out on its Team Pink T-shirts, raising lots of money in the process. The shirts are still available to the public for $10 at Pennell Printing on Elm Street in downtown Saco.
This week, Oct. 22-26, is Pink Week at the school and all of the fall sports teams have already held special pink games when they wore pink somewhere on their uniforms.
Eisenhaur said the boys soccer team has donated $300 to the cause, and a pink quilt raffle will also be held until the end of the month. Tickets are $3 for 1 or $5 for two and are available to the public by emailing Eisenhaur or the Pink Club’s adviser, Teri Arenstam.
On Friday, the Pink Club will host a Halloween dance for students only at TA. Eisenhaur said this is the first time any club at the school has held such an event and she hopes there will be a large turnout.
Also, this week a tree will be placed in the school’s atrium, where those who have been affected by breast cancer can come and hang notes detailing their thoughts or offering encouragement to others facing the disease.
Another fundraiser planned for this week is a pink ribbon sale. These pink ribbons will be large cardboard cutouts where people can write their names. These “ribbons” will also be placed on the walls in the atrium.
Cullen McGough, the communications director at the Maine Cancer Foundation, said his organization is “absolutely welcoming of donations of this kind,” and said the best thing about the foundation and its Women’s Cancer Fund is that all the money stays in Maine.
McGough said the Women’s Cancer Fund was established in 2002 to ensure that money was always being funneled toward women’s cancers, such as breast and cervical cancer. He said that breast cancer is the second highest form of cancer in Maine.
Later this year, Eisenhaur said, the club is also planning a pink ribbon rave dance and a pink basketball game.
“We’re constantly thinking of things to do,” she said. “We want to do things year round, not just during October.”
In addition to being co-president of the Pink Club, Eisenhaur plays lacrosse and is on the swim team. She also is the vice president of TA’s Interact Club, sings in the Treble Choir and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Schildroth is also in the National Honor Society and plays softball and lacrosse at TA.