Today@Sam Article

Dance Group 'Mixes Genres' For 'Rave 2 Save' Awareness, Fund Raiser

April 2, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Romney Thomas

XTE members
Chi Tau Epsilon members (from left) Alyssa Morales, Carina Torres, Kristen Newsom, Katie McAllister, Autumn Harms, and Grace Wilson have worked to raise awareness of the devastating effects of cervical cancer—which affects more than 12,000 women in the U.S. annually—while supporting dance alumna Brittany Thetford Deveau and her family, who have experienced those effects firsthand. Their upcoming event will mix dance with "singing," and all proceeds will benefit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition and “Saving” Sierra Fund.  —Photo by Kristen Newsom

Cervical Cancer is the second most common type of cancer for women worldwide, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. More than 12,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and more than 4,000 women will die. 

To many people, these statistics seem abstract. A majority of young men and women will go about their lives on the SHSU campus without giving cervical cancer a second thought. 

But for Sam Houston State University’s Department of Dance, that is not the case.

Last fall, faculty member and SHSU dance alumna Brittany Thetford Deveau was awakened to the dark realities of this insidious disease when her younger sister Sierra Thetford was diagnosed with cervical cancer stage 4b. 

Thetford’s case and diagnosis was a medical rarity. Only after sustaining minor injuries in a car accident was the cancer discovered at all.

Thetford was not experiencing any of the symptoms associated with advanced cervical cancer at the time of her diagnosis, and the regular screening she had undergone eight months prior had yielded no abnormal results. 

The department has rallied around Deveau in order to provide support for her, her family, and all those affected by cervical cancer. 

In particular, Chi Tau Epsilon, the on-campus dance and academic honor society, has stepped up to the plate by organizing and dedicating performances and events to support Deveau and her family through the NCCC and the “Saving” Sierra Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund established to assist Thetford with her medical expenses. 

“What most people don’t realize about cervical cancer is that it’s one of the most preventable types of cancers,” said senior dance major and XTE president Katie McAllister.  “Frequent screening among women for abnormal cells could make this disease virtually obsolete.”

One of the reasons cervical cancer is so common is because it develops over time.  Regular Pap testing for abnormal cells caused by HPV is the first weapon women of all ages can use in the battle against cervical cancer.

“We have an incredible resource on our campus in the Student Health Center,” said McAllister.  “We will have representatives at the event who can provide students with accurate and important information about testing that can be done here at Sam Houston. 

One of these events will include “Rave 2 Save,” a lip sync battle, on April 21.

Although the event is designed to raise awareness and provide students with valuable resources for maintaining sexual health, it’s also meant to be a good time and offer a chance to blow off some steam before heading into the final, stressful stretch of the semester.

“We’ve modeled the event a bit off of the lip sync battles that Jimmy Fallon sometimes host’s on ‘The Tonight Show,’ said McAllister.  “It’s something that everyone can have fun doing, whether they choose to participate in the battle or cheer on their peers.

“The groups who choose to lip sync will pre-register and provide us with their music.  They may also choose a philanthropy which, should they win; we would donate $200 in their name. The teams will be judged on their elements of lip syncing and choreographed dancing or theatrical elements by a surprise panel of judges.”

Those who do choose to register and participate will receive a free T-shirt.  Wristbands and glow-sticks will also be available for purchase at the event. 

XTE secretary Kristen Newsom, a senior dance major, encourages all students to become involved.

“Everyone has the power to make this event stand out,” said Newsom.  “We have an incredible opportunity here to really make a difference by giving people the power of information about themselves and their health.  What people can learn at our event can actually be life-saving.”

Through the spread of life-saving information and increasingly available and affordable screening options, deaths from cervical cancer in the U.S. are steadily declining by about 2 percent each year, according to the NCCC. 

“We want to reach out to the community here at SHSU to help women take charge of their health,” said Newsom.  “If more people are made aware, we can help decrease the frequency of cervical cancer even more.”

 “Rave 2 Save” will begin at 8 p.m. at the Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.  Student organizations, groups, and individuals are all encouraged to register and participate in what is anticipated to be not only a fun, but also philanthropic and informative event.

McAllister is passionate about “Rave 2 Save” and what it represents for the SHSU community.

“This is an amazing chance to get all kinds of students from Sam Houston together to work towards a common philanthropy,” said McAllister. “It’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness about something that in a big picture sense, truly affects everyone. 

Pre-registration for “Rave 2 Save” is available online through email at The cost to pre-register is $10 per person and $15 at the door. 

 All proceeds will be donated to the NCCC and the “Saving” Sierra Fund. 












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