It’s every woman’s worst nightmare. More than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States every year; 40,000 of them will lose the fight. This season, the ACU women’s volleyball team did its part to help by raising awareness and funds to fight the powerful killer.
The Wildcats joined scores of high school and collegiate volleyball teams across the nation Tuesday as they participated in Dig Pink 2009. Begun in 2004, Dig Pink’s main goal is to combine a passion for volleyball with a determination to cure breast cancer. Tuesday night’s game against Texas-Permian Basin served as Dig Pink night for the Wildcats. ACU Head Coach Kellen Mock’s team wore pink socks in front of a crowd adorned in pink, all in an attempt to raise awareness on the ACU campus.
“The main purpose was to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer,” Mock said. “We also attempted to raise funds for Dig Pink. My best friend from high school’s mom died from breast cancer while we were in high school, and I’ve had teammates’ moms affected as well. ”
Among the special events Tuesday evening were pink T-shirt cannons, a halftime presentation and a funds drive, with a goal of collecting $500. Even the referees sported pink shirts. At halftime, breast cancer survivor and Abilene massage therapist Maria Whittemore delivered her inspirational story of discovery, treatment and ultimately, victory over breast cancer.
Dig Pink night has a special meaning for those in the ACU community who have felt the pain of breast cancer personally. Freshman Kaylynne Allen’s aunt is a survivor, and Heather Leyva’s great aunt struggled with breast cancer, as well.
One out of five women who get the disease will not survive, and sophomore Jennie Hutt knows this all too well. Hutt has had two aunts who have taken on breast cancer; one survived, the other lost her fight. Â Dig Pink’s main goal is to get people to take cancer seriously, with stories like Hutt’s serving as inspiration.
“Having been directly affected by breast cancer makes me much more cautious,” Hutt said. “In the future, I will check things, knowing that it’s in my family.”
Dig Pink has tangible goals for 2009, including raising $1,000,000 and having 3,000 teams participate. However, more than funds, the organization hopes to increase awareness of breast cancer, encourage women to get mammograms and further understanding of a killer that affects so many.