Kristi Egland is working in conjunction with Yoplait to raise money for research and educate young women about breast cancer in the Save Your Girls campaign.
"Yoplait is now trying to educate a new generation of breast cancer activists. The target audience is referred to as "Generation Y. That would include 20-year-old women," Egland said. "That would include women who are finishing college, starting to get their first job."
Women of this generation are more likely to get information from the internet, and access sites such as Facebook to interact with their girlfriends.
"Yoplait is starting a new online Facebook marketing campaign to educate young women about breast cancer, and the theme of this campaign is called 'Know Your Girls.' It's supposed to have a double meaning, with girls meaning your breasts and your girlfriends.
"The idea is that you take a pledge, and the pledge is that you know what's normal for you," Egland said. "It's breast health awareness. It's not just doing a monthly exam and knowing what your body is like once a month. It's always knowing what the normal state of your body is."
Part of the pledge, she added, is for women to seek the advice of a doctor immediately if they believe they have detected a problem with their breasts.
"When I was done nursing, I was told that normally you wait six months to have a mammogram because of all of the changes that your breasts undergo from nursing before getting back to their normal state," Egland said. "I wasn't going to wait six months, because I knew that something wasn't right."
Facebook users may visit www.facebook.com/YoplaitPledge, and click the "I Pledge" button on the Pledge tab for Yoplait to donate money to breast cancer research. Donations will be made through Oct. 31.
Every time one takes the pledge on Facebook, Yoplait donates 10 cents towards Egland's research, up to $100,000.
"So Yoplait, instead of saying 'we sponsor breast cancer research,' is saying, 'we sponsor Dr. Kristi Egland's breast cancer research,'" she said. "Yoplait selected my grant out of all grants nationally, and they didn't know I was a breast cancer survivor."
During a teleconference involving Egland and officials from Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Yoplait, the company learned that the Sioux Falls researcher is a breast cancer survivor.
"The Yoplait people asked me to tell them what my breast cancer research means to me," she said. "They wanted to know why I am motivated to do this."
Egland replied that she is a breast cancer survivor.