Annual pink photo day raises breast cancer awareness

More than 700 people participated in the annual pink photo day by the Columns.

It is the thirteenth consecutive year since Bill Horner, teaching professor and director of undergraduate studies at the MU department of political science, first started coordinating the cancer awareness photo.

The participants gathered by the columns and stood in the shape of the ribbon, including Truman the Tiger, MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, students from Horner’s American Government class and more. Two photographers captured the aerial photos from the drone and a cherry picker.

Horner said he first started the photo because both he and his wife are cancer survivors. He had cancer when he was in graduate school. His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.

“I started off doing it in 2006 in my big American Government class when we started with people coming to class [wearing] pink and we started thinking about taking pictures in different places on campus and see how many people we can gather,” Horner said.

Horner decided to expand the scale of the photo and make it an annual tradition.

“It just kinda grew as an October thing, and I always try to coordinate with various groups that do things that relate to breast cancer and invite them to join us for the photo,” he said.

Through the span of 10 years, the photos have taken place in most of the iconic places at MU including Faurot Field, Mizzou Arena, the softball stadium, Memorial Student Union and the Francis Quadrangle.

Horner said every year’s photo is memorable to him because of the fond memories behind them, from the one in Faurot Field when the football team showed up for support to last year’s photo with Marching Mizzou when his daughter was part of it.

This year, the photo took place by the Columns in the shape of the pink ribbons. Horner said he would also love to take one on the rooftop of Jesse Hall if he gets the permission to do that.

Approximately 750 people came out for this year’s photo, consisting of students from Horner’s American Government class, theater students, MU staff and community members who showed up for support.

“We just write invitations to as many people as we can think of and see who shows up,” Horner said.

A number of those that participated in the photo said they have family members who have had different types of cancer. Joseph Lass, full-time staff member and part-time graduate student is among those people.

This is the third year Lass has participated in the photo day.

“I think it is important to show our support to survivors and people who are going through the situation potentially on their own,” Lass said.

Horner said he hopes this event symbolizes a sense of MU community for cancer awareness.

“The thing I love about this whole process is that I love working with students,” he said. “And [having] the chance to see everyone out there and participate in things like that just make me [feel] very proud of our students.”

Edited by Laura Evans | levans@themaneater.com

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