People behind the pink

A faculty member and student discuss relatives impacted by breast cancer


A cheerleader cheers at the official Pink Out football game Oct. 24. Photo by Jezza Bull-Briones.

October is one of the most productive months among the student body. From selling shirts to wearing all pink, different organizations help to promote Breast Cancer Awareness.

Behind all the pink tutus, the coin drives, and the t-shirts, people often forgot that there are people actually impacted by breast cancer.

Head Volleyball Coach Hollie Huston and senior Dominic Tapia tells us their aunts’ stories.

While Huston didn’t remember what kind of breast cancer it was, she was clear that her aunt had a double mastectomy. Knowing her aunt had breast cancer, Huston decided to make monumental diet changes. To help her aunt stay positive during this time, Huston and her mom helped her clean her house even though it was against her aunt’s wishes.

“I think God picks special people to go through that,” Huston said. “I know that there’s some people he doesn’t give it to because they can’t handle it. She definitely wasn’t one of those.”

Although Huston cannot give advice to breast cancer victims directly, she does have advice for those who have a family member or friend that is going through breast cancer currently.

“Tell them they’re beautiful,” Huston said.

Being so strong-willed, the cancer didn’t have a huge impact on Huston’s aunt’s personality either. She says that you don’t have to be negative at all, just realistic.

“Shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars,” said Huston. “You can never over hope, over pray, over wish … over overcome it. I think it’s important to just stay positive as possible.”

It isn’t just adults that have dealt with the disease. Some students, like Dominic Tapia, have seen the disease impact their family, also.

“I’m always scared that any of my family gets breast cancer because you know I don’t like losing any of my family members,” says Tapia.

His aunt had cancer at 6 years old, it left, and came back and took her. According to Tapia, therapy took a toll on them financially.

One day, she felt a lump on her breast and went to have it checked out. That’s when she found out that she had breast cancer.

“She couldn’t leave the house anymore cause she was just in so much pain.” Said Tapia”

Being as positive as she can, she refused for others to keep their heads down knowing she had cancer. She would tell Dominic to keep his head up and let him know that she was entirely grateful. She also said he would help her through this tough time, and it made him sad knowing she didn’t have long to live.

Both Rangers take part in the Pink Out activities on campus and see value in them.

“Money speaks,” said Huston. “Money gets things done.”

Different advocates effect campaigns in different ways. While not being familiar with the other cancers, she believes that whenever it affects a mass population, more people pitch in and help.

“I love Relay for Life because it encompasses all kinds of cancer,” Huston said.

Like the Lady Rangers, to her knowledge, every volleyball team in Texas does a big Pink Out campaign. She believes that all of the cancer campaigns make a difference.

Tapia will support and raise money for Breast cancer month in any way he can. Also, he will locate anyone at the school who is raising money for charity.

His dad works at a hospital and he and his employees raise money as well.

“I try to do all the Pink Out stuff,” he said.

And as far as lessons learned from the two experiences, Tapia said he’s learned something.

“It showed me to you know to be more appreciative of life and everything and how fast it can be taken away from you.”


Correction: Nov. 19, 2014

An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the operation Huston’s aunt received. Huston’s aunt received a mastectomy, not a vasectomy.