For a great cause and a great basketball game this week, MTSU wants its True Blue fans to think pink!
The 21st-ranked Middle Tennessee women’s basketball team hosts its annual Play 4Kay Power of Pink game on Saturday, Feb. 8, when Rice University visits for a 2 p.m. Conference USA game. At a Monday press conference inside the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame, members of MTSU’s Athletic Department asked all fans to wear pink to the game to celebrate breast-cancer survivors and to honor those who have lost their battle with cancer.
Fans who wear pink to the game can purchase a discounted $5 ticket. The Lady Raiders will auction all 15 of their exclusive pink uniforms immediately following the game. Proceeds from the auctioned jerseys will be split between the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation’s Power of Pink fund. Fans can also donate online to Play 4Kay by clicking here.
“We want everyone to come out and wear pink. We want a Pink Out!” said Diane Turnham, MTSU associate athletic director, who was joined at the press conference by coach Rick Insell. “We want fans to contribute to a great cause. Hopefully we can raise a great amount for both of these great charities.”
“We want to get as many people as aware as possible about what’s going on with cancer research,” Insell added.
Before the game, select cancer survivors will be introduced and stand with the Blue Raiders during the national anthem. Thanks to local sponsors, special Play 4Kay T-shirts will be thrown out in the stands throughout the game. After the contest, the entire 2013-14 Blue Raider squad will sign autographs on the main floor of Murphy Center.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was founded on Dec. 3, 2007, to honor the vision of Kay Yow, a former North Carolina State University head women’s basketball coach. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on Jan. 24, 2009, after her third bout with the disease.
During her fight, Yow joined forces with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and The V Foundation for Cancer Research to form the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to help find an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.
Since the fund’s inception, $8 million has been raised and $2.5 million has been granted for scientific research and related programs focused on women’s cancers.
Dr. Gloria Bonner, MTSU special assistant to the president and a breast cancer survivor, shared her story as fellow survivors and Blue Raider fans Brenda Wilson of Murfreesboro, Betsy Bobo of Shelbyville and Mary Jane Henry of Murfreesboro looked on.
Bonner said she “remembers very vividly” the day in September 2012 when a lump was diagnosed as breast cancer. She said she now looks forward to the day when cancer is eradicated — perhaps by the scientific discovery of an MTSU student.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to celebrate the survivors,” she said. “I am grateful to say that I am a survivor, and my mission is to help others to be aware of it and to encourage preventive measures.”
The Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation’s Power of Pink fund provides diagnostic breast cancer services to Rutherford County women who are un- or underinsured. During the last fiscal year, the Our Mission in Motion mobile mammography coach visited Rutherford County 29 times and performed 329 mammograms, 35 percent of which were charity care. In addition, $88,843 of the Power of Pink funds were used in the last fiscal year for mammograms and/or biopsies for 529 indigent women.
“No one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them,” said Wilson, whose cancer was discovered during a routine annual mammogram last November. “The more awareness that we can have for people to have their mammograms yearly … and knowing that you have a community like MTSU that supports this effort is just wonderful.”
“By partnering with Middle Tennessee State University, we have an even greater capacity to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, increase breast health awareness and teach the importance of early detection,” said Anne Davis, Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation director. “Supporters of our Power of Pink fund are contributing to quality cancer care in our region and providing mammograms and breast cancer care to women who otherwise would not receive it.”
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Russell Luna (email@example.com)