Campus gets moving to raise awareness about breast cancer


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (October 25, 2013) — Tuskegee University students, staff and faculty turned the afternoon into a dance party for a good cause on Thursday.

“Cha-Cha for Your Ta-Tas” was held on the lawn in front of Tompkins Hall and helped spread the message of breast cancer prevention in a fun way for students as well as emphasized the importance of exercise. 

“I’ve had a loved one to die from breast cancer, so it’s important to celebrate survivors,” said Kaylen Cruse, a freshman elementary education major from Mobile, Ala. 

The event was held by the Tuskegee University Health Disparities Institute for Research and Education and Alabama Department of Public Health. The evening featured several popular line dances and salsa and merengue moves. Also, breast cancer survivors shared their stories with participants and encouraged them to tell their loved ones to get mammograms. 

“It doesn’t take much to lose weight so we can prevent these chronic diseases,” said Roberta Troy, founding director for Tuskegee University Health Disparities Institute for Research and Education (HDIRE). “African-American and Hispanic women have a higher rate of death from breast cancer. Tell everyone, get the word out.”

Julia Sosa, assistant director for minority health at the Alabama Department of Public Health, shared her story of survival and urged the crowd to dance with her in celebration. She said a mammogram caught her Stage 1 breast cancer December 2011 and she is now in remission. Sosa credits Latin dancing with helping her to become more fit. 

“One of the first things I did was to dance for myself in my bedroom,” Sosa said as she taught the crowd to salsa. “You dance to four songs and that’s 20 minutes of exercise. ”

Tuskegee University Police Officer Sabrina Tarver, also a breast cancer survivor, said she wanted to share her message to let people know that cancer does not automatically mean a death sentence. She said her cancer was discovered when she was being tested for a stomach ailment in 2011. 

The dye injected in her body for a scan also revealed the cancer in the lymph nodes under her left arm. She said her cancer was Stage 3 by the time doctors removed it. Afterward, she went through several months of difficult treatment, but she said she is grateful to be alive. 

“I am so happy to be here. Yes, I wanted to give up, but I did not give up,” Tarver said. 

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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