The brain is an amazing thing! It has many levels of “awareness” according to psychologists, three to be exact! There are peripheral awareness, sensory awareness, and self-awareness, all of which play a different role in how we take in information, process information, and act on information. According to, each of them has their own meanings:

Peripheral awareness is essentially the background program running in your brain; your brain is constantly inputting all information gathered by your senses whether you’re aware of gathering that information or not. This is like being aware that it is cold without necessarily achieving the awareness to do something about it.

Sensory awareness is when your brain has the input of stimuli from your peripheral awareness like it being cold outside, and then reacts to that stimulus accordingly. In the case of it being cold, this could be represented by shivering. But that’s it.

Self-awareness is a twofold type of awareness, where we are both aware of how we feel about something and also aware of how other people might feel differently about that same thing. This type of awareness leads to introspective consciousness. (This is what we need!)

While October is “breast cancer awareness month,” and that is fantastic, we now know that “awareness” isn’t enough, because to some it may just be something they see or hear about, it runs in the background of their mind, others react to it and then with some, they become self-aware, and it leads to self-evaluation and hopefully prevention and self-care. But if 66% of people are seeing all the PINK, and just letting it be background noise, that won’t be enough to combat this disease that is still invading one in eight women in their lifetime, and that’s just not ok. We all have a chance to change this number when it comes to ending disease, investing in prevention, detection, education, and “self-awareness.” We have to be more than just aware, we have to care!

Breast states, “As of January 2021, there are more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment.” In addition, many battle depression at the same time. That diagnosis comes with a lot of weight to it. It’s very normal to hear the words “cancer” and to experience sadness, anxiety, anger, and even grief over our bodies that no longer seem our own. Statistics that people need to be more than just peripherally or temporarily aware of, they need the care, compassion, and empathy that can only come from those who are really invested.

Breast Cancer is still all too real and prevalent in our lives, and we can’t keep ignoring it. We can’t skip appointments, and pretend it’s not there, until it is one of us or until a loved one shares, they’ve become part of the one in eight. We should be more than aware now; we should care now. This month we encourage everyone to become more than just aware and to show they care by learning to show support to those in the fight, honor those who’ve survived, and remember those we’ve lost by wearing pink, starting conversations, making your annual prevention exam appointments, asking questions and advocating for your own health or even joining us to raise some money for our breast cancer patients in need. We will host a PINK Party this Saturday at 8:30 am starting with 45 minutes of Drums Alive® followed by 45 minutes of Zumba® at 9:15 am, to raise money that stays right here in our community. One hundred percent of all money donated will go to our friends and family in need.

Here at NCH, we have so many programs and activities going on centered around Breast Cancer Awareness, you will see us as a sea of pink on Wednesdays, pink pumpkins displayed around campus, fundraisers like this Saturday, and more. Why? Because we want to show we are more than just aware, we care!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center