Students honor late actor through cancer presentation

(Brooklyn Burnett/The News)

Ciara Benham
Staff Writer

Two nursing students are hosting a presentation on colon cancer and a showing of “Black Panther” to honor the late actor Chadwick Boseman and educate the Murray State community on the cancer.

Partnered with a representative from the Kentucky Cancer Program, senior nursing students Kaitlyn Foster and Sydney Edge have been working on a project designed to raise awareness and educate the public about a variety of cancers.

When the project was first assigned, Foster and Edge were unsure of what type of cancer they wanted to focus on.

“I knew I was going to an education session over cancer earlier this year,” Edge said, “But I didn’t know exactly which cancer I would do until I learned of Chadwick’s passing due to colon cancer.”

On Aug. 28, Boseman, known for his role as King T’Challa in Marvel’s “Black Panther” and his portrayal of Jackie Robinson in “42,” passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

The death of Boseman shocked many, including Edge and Foster, as Boseman did not reveal his diagnosis to the public. After the news broke, Edge and Foster were inspired to honor his memory for their project.

“I had not even been aware he had colon cancer,” Foster said. “When I learned that he had even been acting after being diagnosed, my admiration for him only grew.”

Both of the students admired Boseman’s work, so they wanted to use this opportunity to make this project personal and a memorial to him.

“We don’t want it to be another presentation where the audience is bored and does not care about the content,” Foster said. “ We want people to learn about colon cancer, how it can easily affect anyone and take back what they learn to their loved ones. Maybe by learning more about this disease, their respect for Chadwick will grow just like ours did.”

Although Edge and Foster know colon cancer generally doesn’t affect people under 50, they wanted to educate the campus community about the risk factors.

“Students can take steps now to eliminate or at least decrease their risk for getting [the] cancer,” Edge said. “Some risk factors that may be more relatable for students include having a family history, having a GI issue, smoking, using alcohol excessively and obesity/sedentary lifestyle.”

The presentation will include a variety of topics including some background information on colorectal cancer, risk factors, some signs and symptoms to look out for and screening and treatment methods.

“I know colon cancer may not seem applicable to our lives now given how young we are, but we can take this information and share it, possibly preventing a cancer diagnosis in the process,” Edge said.

Foster and Edge will give the presentation on cancer and showing of “Black Panther” today, Oct. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at Mason Hall.