PINK BELTS EARNED TO PROMOTE CANCER AWARENESS Local martial artists partner with the American Cancer Society to raise cancer awareness
You probably know someone with a black belt, but do you know how to earn a pink belt? That's what local children and adults, ages 6 to 80, have been doing at the American Martial Arts Institute. Collaborating with the American Cancer Society’s Utica office, local martial arts expert Grandmaster Clifford Crandall, designed a community program for his students to increase cancer awareness and earn their pink belts.
Cancer touches nearly every family, and ignorance of cancer spreads fear as fast as the malignant cells themselves. The best way to combat fear is with knowledge, and the Pink Belt program aims to arm the mind with a better awareness and understanding. There are three methods to earn this unique rank.
First, children ages six to 17 can take home a test, which is age specific. They may seek help from their parents, teachers, and family in answering the questions, and by completing and discussing the questions with their family, they become better informed. Parents are provided resources from the American Cancer Society, which helps them to answer the questions in a way they feel is appropriate for the age and needs of their child.
The second method is primarily for adults who may choose to become involved as a volunteer for one of the many events organized by the ACS.
The third method is to spread awareness independently through diverse options including writing an article for a work newsletter, handing out awareness literature, and others.
Students who earn their pink belt also receive a custom made certificate to hang in their home or office. The belts will be earned from May 1 through September 15. The program will culminate in all students who have earned their pink belts participating in a martial arts demonstration immediately following the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Everyone who has earned their pink belt will wear them at this demonstration being donated by the American Martial Arts Institute to entertain everyone who participated in the walk.
This program is the first of its kind. Martial arts schools have done what so many other agencies have helped to do in the past—fund raise to make a donation to local or national agencies—through events such as kick-a-thons. This is the first program whose goal is to assist the core mission of cancer agencies, raising awareness. Mr. Peter Cittadino, senior market manager for the Greater Mohawk Valley Area of the American Cancer Society, has been working with Crandall to provide the resources and tests for the students, lists of all available events for volunteers, programs for local businesses such as 80 by 18, and more. Students are already earning their pink belts and sharing what they have learned with their families.