Women’s Center Chocolate Festival for Breast Cancer

Talley Student Union view from elevator

Students walk on campus by the Talley Student Union. Photo by Marc Hall

On the eve of the return of our beloved students, it is time to anticipate the year ahead. The Chocolate Festival for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness is an annual event to share with family, friends and loved ones. The Women’s Center will host its 12th annual Chocolate Festival on September 11, 2015 from 5:30-7:30 in the Talley Student Union Ballroom. The Chocolate Festival combines breast cancer awareness and wellness with chocolate sampling and a silent auction. In partnership with NC State Office of Parents and Families Services, the Chocolate Festival will coincide with a weekend of events dedicated to welcoming parents and families to the Wolfpack community. The Women’s Center again hosts the festival to support the Kay Yow Foundation as well as Women’s Center programs.

Chocolate FestivalThe Chocolate Festival is a legacy for so many in our Wolfpack community. The event is featured as an NC State Tradition in “The Brick” as well as part of the “Connect with NC State” challenge for NC State Faculty and Staff. The festival honors Kay Yow and others in our family impacted by this disease. Susan Donohoe, executive director of the Kay Yow Fund, writes, “In so many ways, Coach Yow served as a true champion and advocate for women. Throughout her career at NC State, she served as a ‘Leader of the Pack’ and was a true inspiration to NC State students, faculty and staff, as well as to so many throughout the Triangle area and the state of North Carolina. Coach Yow’s grace and strength inspired and provided hope to so many others going through similar battles with cancer. We are honored to work with the NC State Women’s Center and Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity and have the opportunity to be the beneficiary of the annual Chocolate Festival for Breast Cancer Research and Education. The funds raised from the Chocolate Festival allow the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to carry out Coach Yow’s mission of supporting women’s cancer research, assisting the underserved and uniting people for a common cause.”

The event is part remembrance and part celebration of what we stand for as a Wolfpack family. Sha’Quiel Alston, a senior who attended the festival last year, writes: “I enjoy the chocolate festival because it’s a time for the family… it recognizes that that’s who breast cancer affects. A family.”

Current students, faculty, staff and alumni join in the fun. Dr. Rebecca Leonard, faculty emerita, told us, “The Chocolate Festival is enjoyable to me and my fellow chocoholics, but it is the educational focus that is critical to our faculty, staff and students. Breast Cancer awareness reminds us of our role in the diagnosis and prevention of breast cancer and ways in which we can contribute to the efforts to eliminate this terrible disease.”

At the Festival, you can expect to learn about breast cancer, how to do self-exams, the importance of early detection and how to support survivors. You will also have FUN! After eating your fill of chocolate, you can enjoy many chocolate-related games, take pictures under the balloon arch or dance the night away to a DJ.

This event is family-friendly and supports two great causes. Tickets go on sale on August 28, 2015 and are available in advance at $10 for students and $15 for all others. You can buy tickets in the Women’s Center in the Talley Student Union or online. We are still accepting chocolate donations and items for the silent auction. Feel free to contact Kimberly Zugay (kdzugay@ncsu.edu) with donation items.

See you at the 2015 Women’s Center Chocolate Festival for Breast Cancer Research and Education!

Dr. Ashley Simons-Rudolph is director of the NC State Women’s Center.