TCU’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) recently hosted its fifth annual Mr. ZTA pageant, once again drawing a standing room-only crowd to the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom for the event.
The pageant, the chapter’s philanthropy event, featured fraternity teams competing for the title of Mr. ZTA through a series of contests including trivia questions, best swimsuit attire and best song performance or dance routine.
The pageant has become a favorite among TCU students in recent years for its entertainment value, but the event’s purpose is much larger – to promote breast cancer awareness and education said Cady Roberts, the director of philanthropy for TCU’s chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.
Roberts said all funds raised from the pageant through the 75 dollar team entry fee and one dollar admission fee went directly to the Zeta Tau Alpha foundation, a national foundation aimed at supporting the event’s cause.
“Money from the foundation goes to breast cancer education and awareness and also to programs for girls in our chapters to get advice and just different information about breast cancer awareness and education,” said Roberts.
Roberts said the chapter also hosted a separate fundraiser at the Smoothie King on South University Drive that benefited the foundation. The total amount raised from the two events has not been announced.
To promote the theme of breast cancer awareness and education, the chapter invited TCU faculty member and breast cancer survivor Jacque Lambiase to give a testimonial before the start of the event in addition to serving as a judge for the pageant.
Lambiase, a professor of Strategic Communication, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, but as of now, she has shown no signs of tumor markers in recent blood tests.
“I was flattered by the invitation because a lot of my students are members of this group, and it was really cool to come hang out with them in the evening and see what they do when they are not in the classroom,” Lambiase said.
Lambiase added that it is special to see a group work so hard to raise support and awareness for a cause that is close to her.
“Through all of my lifetime when I was their age nobody talked about breast cancer, nobody said anything about it, and you couldn’t even use the word breast in any kind of media,” Lambiase said. “Now everybody knows about it, everybody is supportive, and I think it makes the community bigger, better and stronger, and I think it is really great what they do.”
Lambiase said she hopes her story with breast cancer will not only educate others about the disease, but also serve as an inspiration to those currently diagnosed with the disease or who have a loved one battling it.
“There’s a real big community out there to help you, and there are great fundraising efforts like this one that have made a real big difference in the way women are able to get treatment,” Lambiase said. “I say have hope, go find a great doctor, and go take care of yourself.”
For many people in attendance, Lambiase’s message hit home.
Roberts said breast cancer is something close to the personal lives of many TCU Zeta Tau Alpha members. Roberts said 50 percent of ZTA members had their lives affected by breast cancer in some capacity.
“I actually had everyone at chapter meeting raise their hand at chapter meeting if they had been affected by breast cancer just so everyone could keep that in mind when they’re making decisions and helping with our philanthropy,” Roberts said.
Junior Caroline Green was one of those individuals, as her mother recently fought a victorious battle with breast cancer. Green’s mother was diagnosed with the disease in November 2014 but was quick to win the fight, going into remission in February and being declared cancer-free in June.
Green said that it was inspiring to see her sorority sisters support her through her mother’s time of trial.
“I didn’t know that it was in my path that my mom was going to have breast cancer, but I know that the Lord totally used that and Zeta for my benefit, and all these girls were just there for me no matter what,” Green said. “To see all these girls gather for just a great cause is so incredible.”
Zeta members were not the only students at the pageant who had dealt with the hardships of the disease. First-year student Jake Donzelli, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) team that took home the title of Mr. ZTA, said his mother’s best friend died from breast cancer.
“I don’t know…it’s so hard,” Donzelli said. “[The pageant] is really a good cause. They’re doing it for a good thing, and they’re raising a lot of money for it.”
Roberts said the event is the perfect balance of fun while supporting a serious issue.
“It’s so fun to just be in charge of our chapter to raise all this money for this event, but still everyone being aware that it’s for a philanthropy and it’s for a cause,” Roberts said.
You can test your knowledge of breast cancer and its effects on the population in the quiz below.