Aggie toughness proven: Fundraisers named number one in the world

Feb. 26, 2009 by Denise Nava Original Round Up article

During October, the Las Cruces and NMSU community participate in the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign dedicated to breast cancer awareness and raising money for research.

Announced about a week ago by the “pink headquarters” in Hughson, Calif., NMSU Aggies’ “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign and the Las Cruces Cowboys for Cancer Research event have been named number one in the world.

The fundraisers are intended to foster cancer research at UNM Cancer Center and NMSU. Together, both fundraising events raised more than $800,000.

“The possibilities and the commitment of the both the community of Las Cruces and the university was wonderful,” said Laura Conniff, co-chair for the campaign and member of the NMSU Board of Regents. “It was really quite an accomplishment this year.”

Conniff, a breast cancer survivor, explained how the campaign took the participation of many people, and she is very thankful for those who lent a helping hand.

Conniff wanted to especially thank the students, staff and faculty of NMSU and the community of Las Cruces for the great turn-out.

In addition to popular October events, such as last year’s “pink-out” football game against San Jose and the luminaria display around Aggie Memorial Stadium, a new kind of help came from Las Cruces public schools.

“This year the Las Cruces public schools got involved and raised over 7,000 in quarters,” Conniff said. “Students donated quarters, and at the Las Cruces-Onate game, they presented the check for all the quarters donated.”

Conniff said the awareness and the knowledge that was disseminated for the event was great because it gives a whole other group of people, such as students in public schools, information about breast cancer awareness.

According to the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Web site, the campaign became “the $1 million question proudly answered by the western industry during the 2006 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. With the Wrangler brand at the helm, cowboys, cowgirls, rodeos, retailers and manufacturers were motivated to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.”

Also a part of the campaign, Conniff explained through Mountain View Regional Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, and several providers of radiology they were able to offer 300 free mammograms for women in the Las Cruces area who were unable to have the procedure.

Conniff also said check-ups before and after were offered to the women.

Jacque Green, Zeta Tau Alpha president, said being educated about breast cancer is the best way to prevent cancer.

During the campaign, ZTA accepted donations and distributed window clings to help support and educate students about breast cancer.

“ZTA encourages women to do self-breast exams and mammograms,” Green said. “Mammograms are a method to detect cancer early. The best protection is early detection.”

Conniff said the 300 free mammograms were really wonderful awareness initiative and were a good thing to do for the community.

“The main thing we want to say is thank you,” Conniff said. “[The campaign] was certainly an initiative that was created from the heart. It became something the community attached themselves to.”

Conniff was joined by three other co-chairs, June Mumme, Pat Sisbarro and Magellia Mclntyre Boston, who are each cancer survivors also.

“I think the thing we are most proud of is the awareness that has been built,” Conniff said. “It really has been a fun event that raises money and awareness for a really important cause.”

To learn more about the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign, check out or

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