Monday afternoon, if anyone was walking past the Club D’Ville, they may have heard singing and saw people wearing pink marauder hats. This group of pink-clad people was part of the kick off to a national campaign spearheaded by the Breast Cancer Awareness Advisory Committee.
In 2014, Dr. Dennis Denenberg, Professor Emeritus at Millersville University, launched an endowment in memory of his sister Diana Denenberg Durand, who passed away in 2007 after an 18 yearlong battle with cancer. Diana attended Millersville University during the 1960s before going to work for the Central Intelligence Agency.
In 1989, during her final year working for the CIA, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis, after her retirement, led to a mastectomy and intensive chemotherapy, ultimately being declared cancer free. In 1994, the cancer returned but in 2002 once again was able to overcome it. A short time later, the cancer once again returned and sadly, Diana passed away in 2007. Even after her passing, Dr. Denenberg made sure her spirit lived on. In the Stayer Courtyard, students will see the Diana Denenberg Durand Spirit Garden, a place of tranquility and peace with the gardens and accompanied sculpture in Diana’s honor.
With Dr. Denenberg’s help, The Diana’s Dreamers: Determined to Defeat Breast Cancer Endowment was established to raise awareness amongst college students about breast cancer. The hope for this endowment is to become a national beacon to help fund awareness days regarding to breast cancer education and prevention. At Millersville University, this awareness day is aptly named Breast-a-Ville, an event located for the past six years at the wellness fair. This event provides a fun environment to gain knowledge in regards to self-exams, treatment, local resources and agencies, and much more. Each year, as Breast-a-Ville has grown, the committee hopes to start bringing national attention to this event.
The goal of the committee and Diana’s Dreamers is to bring this event to every university in the nation, spreading awareness amongst college students in breast cancer education and prevention. To help fund the Diana’s Dreamer’s Endowment, the committee launched on Monday, September 26th a viral campaign based around the song Fighter, by Liz Fulmer, a graduate of Millersville University and professional singer.
The campaign is an online video recording where the committee challenges the community and student bodies across the country to sing the chorus to Liz Fulmer’s song and post their versions, raising awareness amongst college campuses. Similar to the ALS ice bucket challenge, those that are challenged that decide not to post a video are asked to make a monetary donation. In this case, the donations go to the Diana’s Dreamers Endowment. To date, since the launch of Diana’s Dreamers in 2014, the endowment has raised over $60,000.
Dr. Denenberg, when asked what the committee’s goal is, stated, “Ideally, we [the committee] would like to raise a million dollars. Realistically, we just would like to create a breast cancer awareness presence on every college campus across the nation.” So far, Millersville University President John Anderson along with his cabinet, the Millersville University Nursing Department, and various members of the community were told to take the challenge after the video was launched on Monday.
All videos are asked to be posted on social media. The chorus lyrics of the song Fighter are
“And you won’t ever see her giving up, you won’t hear her say she’s had enough.
Cause she is a fighter.
You won’t ever see her curse the sky, you won’t hear her ask the heaven’s why.
Cause she is a fighter.”
People are asked to upload their videos to social media using #dianasdreamers. Beyond the video campaign, people can download on iTunes the song Fighter, with all proceeds going to raise money for the Diana’s Dreamers Endowment. In itself, the song embodies the spirit of Diana and who she was during the long, tiresome battle against cancer.
Liz Fulmer explained that the song was inspired by Diana Denenberg Durand and her strong spirit. The song’s lyrics and tune embody the fighting spirit that was Diana and demonstrated how she was able to overcome this devastating disease many times over. Liz talked about how the song is about being diagnosed with breast cancer and each day fighting through to see the next, never giving up. “Some may say that she [Diana] lost the battle, but did she? She touched so many, me included even though we never met. She is the backbone to this song,” Liz stated after the campaign launch.
Anyone that is interested in posting their own video or making a donation, please visit https://www.millersville.edu/nursing/breast-cancer-awareness-program/fighter.php for more information. Make a difference and spread awareness about breast cancer awareness. Take the challenge and be a fighter too!
Wednesday, October 5th from 10:30-2, come to the 6th Annual Breast-a-Ville on the SMC Promenade and have an opportunity to record your own video or make a donation towards the Diana’s Dreamers Ednwoment.