An attendee browses a table and discusses breast health with an exhibitor. SHAUN LUCAS / THE SNAPPER
“Breast-A-Ville” returned to campus on Oct. 5, 2022 in its first in-person event since 2019. The event hosted local health experts and agencies to inform Millersville students on the importance of breast health and the dangers of breast cancer. Millersville University emeritus professor Dennis Denenburg organized “Breast-A-Ville” to honor his late sister Diana Denenburg Durand, who passed away in 2007 after an 18-year battle with breast cancer.
Held at the Student Memorial Center promenade from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., students played games and discussed breast health with exhibitors. Similar to other informational events, students were given stamp cards for visiting exhibitors, trading out a full card for a t-shirt.
“We had about 350 students earn a t-shirt,” Denenburg said. “We were pleased because it’s (‘Breast-A-Ville’) new to most students on campus.”
Hosting its first annual event in 2011, “Breast-A-Ville” is a key element to “Diana’s Dreamers: Determined to Defeat Breast Cancer,” an endowment through Millersville University dedicated to educating college students on breast health and breast cancer. Beyond events, the endowment also supports efforts such as the Breast Cancer Awareness Center in the Health Services Building and The Diana Denenburg Durand Spirit Garden, dedicated in 2007. “Diana’s Dreamers” also wishes to expand beyond Millersville and create chapters at other universities, as well as to make “Breast-A-Ville” institutionalized at Millersville University.
Diana Denneburg Durand graduated from Millersville University in 1967 with a B.S. in Mathematics. Per Dennis, Diana was one of the first female mathematics majors at Millersville. In her senior year, Diana also served as Editor-in-Chief of The Snapper.
While “Breast-A-Ville” was set to celebrate their tenth anniversary in 2021, COVID-19 led to an in-person iteration being canceled. Virtual events were held these two years, along with community members being given “Breast-A-Ville” branded face masks in 2020.
“In 2021, we thought we could do it in real time. It was just too risky for the students and for the exhibitors.” Denenburg said. “Plus, the health care workers were so busy, we just didn’t feel it was prudent to ask them to give up half a day of their work schedule. So we tried to do something virtual again. It at least kept our name among the students.”
During the event, the water of the McNairy Library fountain was dyed pink in honor of the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Other events aligning with “Breast-A-Ville” included a “Pink Out” at the Ware Center Oct. 7 and the Millersville women’s soccer team’s annual “Pink out Pucillo” game.
The next “Breast-A-Ville” event is set for the first Wednesday in October 2023, per Denenburg. Denenburg said the event would go, “bigger and better.”
“The pandemic was a setback, but it didn’t defeat us. A lot of things did fall by the wayside and didn’t survive…but we did and we’re happy.”
For those interested in helping with “Diana’s Dreamers” and “Breast-A-Ville,” email Denenberg directly at email@example.com. Throughout October, a portion of the sales of the University Store’s Breast Cancer Awareness Collection will be donated to “Diana’s Dreamers.”
“One of our goals is to involve more students,” Denenberg said. “We need to get students to really carry the ball more…at the very least we want a student advisory committee.”