Follow the Funds Friday: Wood County Health Department Promotes Awareness in Schools
NEKOOSA (WAOW) -
School spirit is often a contagious emotion that can easily spread like wildfire. Faculty and staff in high schools across Wisconsin may know the feeling well and encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities. The Nekoosa High School has added a twist, however, actually, they’ve added pink.
The Wood County Health Department approached coaches at the various High Schools in Wood County in efforts to begin spreading breast cancer awareness in the schools. The Nekoosa High School coaches jumped on board.
“In the last three years, it’s really taken off,” Bob Ness, Nekoosa High School Athletic Director said. “It’s gotten much bigger and better.”
The Wood County Health Department is a Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen grant recipient in its fourth year. Komen Central Wisconsin provides funds so they are able to implement their various outreach programs.
Their grant program involves three different focus areas; one includes breast cancer prevention and awareness among youth. The Wood County Health Department provides sports teams located in Wood County High School Districts with pink athletic attire for those schools whom are interested. The school will then host a “pink night.” Wood County provides educational materials that are available at the sporting events for spectators and athletes.
“The coaches tell the athletes and students which day or date that they are using for a cancer awareness game,” Bob said. “From there they get volunteers, parents to volunteer for certain thing. We get help from Wood County with socks they give us and in some instances we buy pink jerseys to help promote that date.”
These events don’t just occur during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but throughout the entire year.
“It’s really an entire school function,” Bob said. “Everybody kind of works together and there are announcements over the P.A. telling all to come out and support the Susan G. Komen program at tonight’s event.”
Last year, Nekoosa High School raised close to $5,000 that went to Susan G. Komen.
“This year will be a little different,” Bob said. “Half is going toward a student who has brain cancer to help with expenses and medical bills.”
Freshman, Hunter Heppler, and his family are very appreciative. On Saturday, October 12th, Nekoosa High School volunteers held an exclusive fundraising event just for Hunter and his family. The Friday prior was Nekoosa High School football’s Pink night.
“They haven’t tallied up the fundraising efforts yet,” Bob said.
Bob is a big supporter and advocate for the Wood County program and the Central Wisconsin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.
“Everybody should support it,” Bob said. “Whether they have personally known someone with cancer or not; it’s one of those diseases that needs to be fought on the front lines and the schools are on the front lines.”
He believes the various fundraising programs and awareness are working.
“It’s helping to put money toward cancer research and develop cures for cancer,” he said. “Even if they only have a dollar, every dollar helps. I think it’s really great. I’m proud of our athletes, coaches and community here for all of their participation.”
The next pink event Nekoosa High School will host will be during basketball season. A date is yet to be determined.
Wood County Health Department- Reducing Disparities, Linking Systems, developing Youth Leaders and Increasing Access in Wood County Tel: 715-421-8911 Website: www.co.wood.wi.us
The Wood County Health Department grant funds will be focused on 3 areas:
Funding assistance for women who have financial constraints that would prevent them from attending annual exams and mammograms. The program will work in conjunction with the Wisconsin Well Women’s Program at the Wood County Health Department to give out vouchers for taxi services or gas gift cards to those who have difficulty with or lack of transportation.
Breast Cancer prevention and awareness among youth. The Wood County Health Department will provide sports teams located in Wood County High School Districts with pink athletic attire for those schools whom are interested. They will then host a “pink night.” Educational materials will be available at the sporting events for spectators and athletes.
Develop modules on breast cancer awareness and prevention that will be displayed at local Hmong family centers and food pantries in Wood County. The goal is to reach out not only to different ethnic backgrounds, but also to lower income, underinsured or uninsured Wood County residence with education materials on breast cancer awareness and prevention.
In its 3rdyear, the Wood County Health Department has made great strides to reach out to their residence to educate them on breast cancer awareness and prevention. In their 2012-2013 grant year, their outreach program touched more than 450 women via various events and educational programs.
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