Members of Marquette High School’s Breast Cancer Awareness Club learn about the dangers of breast cancer at OSF Saint Anthony’s Cancer Center of Excellence.

(Alton, IL) – Last Week, OSF Saint Anthony’s Health Center welcomed students and faculty of Marquette Catholic High School’s Breast Cancer Awareness Club to tour the facilities and meet with the OSF Saint Anthony’s oncology staff.

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Dr. Manpreet Sandhu, medical oncologist and hematologist, shared the importance of breast cancer awareness and education, and the impact research and development has on survival rates. And she commended the students for being proactive and learning about the disease and various courses of treatment.

Led by Dr. Sandhu, the students toured the Medical and Radiation Oncology Departments where they had the opportunity to learn about various treatments, equipment and career options in health care.

The 77 member club, which started from a small group in 2009, has grown into the largest extracurricular club at Marquette. 

“It all started when a group of students wanted to participate in the Relay For Life [an American Cancer Society fundraiser],” said Sara Ulrich, Marquette’s athletic director and club facilitator. “It seems cancer touches all of our lives. The fact these students are getting this knowledge at a young age is wonderful.”

According to Ulrich, the club stays active with fundraisers and events throughout the year.

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“They hold bake sales, participate in Relay For Life and partner with OSF Saint Anthony’s for Pack the Place Pink sporting events. But our biggest event is Volley for the Cure,” Ulrich said. “It’s boys against the girls. We have so many students wanting to play that we have to use a lottery system. All the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.” The group raised nearly $8,000 in 2014, she added.

Tracy Phillips, breast health navigator for OSF Saint Anthony’s, is equally excited about that partnership.

“I’m so proud of these young adults. It is very clear that they are involved with the world around them,” said Phillips. “It’s rewarding working with such an interested and enthusiastic group.”

Phillips and OSF Saint Anthony’s Physician Liaison Felecia Huebener started working with the club in 2014 when Marquette and OSF Saint Anthony’s teamed up for the Pack the Place Pink night.

Twice a year, at one basketball game and one volleyball game, the crowd and the players wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer.

“Saint Anthony’s has been wonderful. The Marquette family is really excited about the partnership of our two Missions,” Ulrich said. “Felecia and Tracy work hard at teaching our students about the risks involved with cancer.”

The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award to OSF Saint Anthony's Cancer Center of Excellence – placing them in the top 75 cancer programs in the nation.

For more information about the OSF Saint Anthony’s Cancer Center of Excellence, call 618-463-5623.

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