Amid a sea of purple TCU Frogs for the Cure T-shirts, about 100 students with “AED” printed on their sleeves proudly walked on to the football field at halftime Thursday night.
These students did so, in major part, to honor breast cancer survivor Denise Bennett.
The fourth annual Frogs for the Cure football game against Brigham Young University marked the second year Alpha Epsilon Delta, TCU’s premedical and predental honor society, participated in the festivities. Bennett is the academic program specialist to AED faculty adviser Phil Hartman.
“Denise is like our mom,” said junior neuroscience major and AED historian Brighton Richie, “We love her so much and all support her so much.”
Bennett said she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, despite no family history of the disease, and underwent a mastectomy, the operation of removing all or part of the breast, and four months of chemotherapy, a chemical treatment with special toxic effect to destroy cancerous tissue. But, she kept working at TCU throughout everything.
“She has been the biggest rockstar ever,” senior biology and Spanish major Miraie Wardi said. “She always looked so awesome, even when she was sick.”
Lindsay Morgan, a senior biology and Spanish major, said Bennett always had a positive attitude.
“She always wanted to know what was going on in our lives,” Morgan said. “She never wanted to talk about herself or her illness.”
Bennett said she is deeply moved by her students’ care and compassion.
“It means everything to me,” she said. “It’s hard for me to talk about it. I’m an emotional person.”
AED social chair and senior psychology major Troy Dodge, along with senior biology major, Nicole Zamora, served as student representatives to the Frogs for the Cure committee, which worked directly with Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tarrant County, a partial beneficiary of the proceeds from ticket and T-shirt sales.
Dodge said this year the committee tried to include BYU as much as possible in the planning phase. Some ideas like having BYU join the Frogs on the field for half time did not work out this year, but the committee was able to work with the BYU athletic department to link proceeds from tickets and T-shirts bought by BYU fans to the Komen fund.
Five dollars from every ticket sold and $3 from each T-shirt sale went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tarrant County.
The foundation also helped educate students on the topic.
Komen on the Go demonstrated self-checking procedures for breast cancer outside the Brown-Lupton University Union for most of the day Thursday, Zamora said.
Zamora, who wants to be an oncologist, said while the committee wants to raise money for the Komen fund, it also really wants to promote awareness and prevention through early detection. She hopes students take the message to heart, and pass it on to their friends and loved ones.
Both, Dodge and Zamora, have first-hand experience with cancer’s impact.
Beside honoring Bennett, Dodge walked onto the field Thursday night to honor his mother, a seven-year survivor of breast cancer.
“This is a really neat event,” Dodge said. “It has really solidified my TCU experience.”
Zamora honored both her father and mother that night. Her father is a Hodgkin lymphoma cancer survivor, and her mother passed away from breast cancer two years ago.
“I wish my mom could see this,” Zamora said. “I bawled on the field last year. It’s humbling to see all those people who care, to see people opening their hearts to the message. My mom would be so proud of me and of my school.”