The University of Maine chapter of the sorority Gamma Sigma Sigma (GSS) hosted an “Unbirthday Party” to promote cancer awareness on Thursday, Nov. 10. The celebration was in recognition of the work of the American Cancer Society (ACS), whose slogan is “making a world with more birthdays” and their continuous work to create better solutions to help those suffering from the effects of cancer both directly and indirectly.
The women of GSS took pointers from the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland,” describing that they were “having this party to celebrate everyone’s ‘unbirthday’ because why would you only celebrate yourself on one day? Why not everyday?”
“It’s a party celebrating everybody as they are right now because you never know what is going to happen the next day,” fourth-year animal and veterinary sciences student Cami Daly said. Daly joined GSS in the spring of 2015 and like many of her fellow sorority members, she recognizes that for some, this may be their last Unbirthday Party.
This Unbirthday Party was held in the Memorial Union, where the sorority set up decorations, baked a bunch of sweet party treats and put together different activity stations for all their unbirthday guests to participate in. They had a cupcake decorating station, a ribbon station where you could make your own awareness ribbon and a trivia station.
Every station served a double purpose. Not only were they fun and for the most part edible, but they also helped to educate students about the different types of cancer. At the cupcake station, participants had the choice of chocolate or vanilla cake as well as frosting or no frosting and participants could choose which color of sprinkles to decorate their piece with. The different colors for each item and all of the colors displayed at the event, represented different types of cancer. Gray was used to recognize brain cancer, while colors such as dark blue and black represented those suffering from colon cancer and melanoma, respectively. Plum was used to recognize those who take the time to be caregivers for those suffering from the many variations of cancer.
The ribbons that were on display were called cancer awareness ribbons, which represented the colors of the different types of cancer. Due to the excess of ribbons the group had at the end of their event, they decided that the ribbons were going to be given out during their next event. They became the sorority’s entrance gift to those who attended their “A Red Carpet Affair – Charity Formal,” which took place on Friday, Nov. 11 and served as a support for Manna Ministries’ Food Pantry and the MBS Corps’ Food Nook.
At the trivia station you were given a few questions revolving around the effects of cancer and how widespread cancer can be. From the trivia questions, participants learned that August has the largest percentage of birthdays in it and that lung cancer — not testicular or prostate cancer — is the most fatal form of cancer in men. Another question asked, “how many types of cancer are there?” To this date, there have been over 200 variations of cancer that have been discovered.
Gamma Sigma Sigma is an active participant and partner organization to ACS, Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, Alex’s Lemonade Stand and Project Impact. They also host the Late Night Local, which is a van that that transports students back to their residences on the weekends. They are looking forward to their next upcoming event which is a gift collection for Operation Christmas Child. More details will be made available by GSS as the event gets closer.