A 2015 Corbin High School graduate competing in the Miss Kentucky Pageant this week is making her efforts to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need for women to increase the frequency of self-exams her pageant platform.
Brooke Way said she has seen, first-hand, the effects of breast cancer as she watched her mother, Tina, go through chemotherapy and radiation treatment in 2013.
“I was really scared because I wasn’t aware of the process,” Way said, noting that when the mass was discovered, it was at an advanced stage.
Way said as she watched her mom go through her treatments, she began to wonder how many other women have early stage breast cancer and didn’t know it.
While experts recommend performing such exams on a monthly basis, Way is advocating for women to conduct the exams more frequently, ideally on a weekly basis.
“I came up with ‘Pink Pants Friday,’” Way said, explaining that she has a pairof bright pink pants that she wears every Friday to help spread her message.
“Because breast cancer can absolutely be stopped,” Way said, adding it was through a weekly exam that one of her friends found a lump that turned out to be stage one cancer.
“It just made a huge difference with finding it early,” Way said.
Way started “Pink Pants Friday” when she began college at Asbury University outside of Lexington.
As the weeks went on, people began noticing the girl with the bright pink pants. Way said that led to conversations which gave her the opportunity to tell the story about her mom’s fight with breast cancer and what she is trying to do.
“I’m part of the Asbury Swim Team and a lot of my teammates started coming to practice on Friday wearing pink,” Way added.
Way said she has established a Facebook page, “Pink Pants Friday and on Instagram at pink_pants_Friday in an effort to spread the word and raise awareness.
In addition, Way is encouraging others to wear something pink on Friday in an effort to help the cause.
Way took her cause to the fashion runway Saturday when the 31 contestants competed in a fashion show at Dillard’s in Lexington.
“We had to pick something in the store to wear during the fashion show,” Way explained. “I selected a pink dress that will also be used on stage in the competition.”
The pageant will begin Wednesday morning with the interview portion. The talent and onstage question portions will be held Thursday night. Swimsuit and evening gown competitions will be held Friday night and the finals are scheduled for Saturday.
The event will be at the Singletary Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The winner will go on to compete in the Miss America Pageant.
Way is the 19-year-old daughter of John and Tina Way of Corbin. Her grandfather, Heskel Roaden is a World War II veteran.