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Commentary: Together in pink

Posted on 11.06.2013

Hosting a breast cancer awareness game is more than just a colorful event. It is not an attempt to get more publicity or draw more fans. It is student-athletes and administration using sports as a platform to fight a looming enemy in today’s society.
UIndy had four teams participate in breast cancer awareness games this fall. The volleyball team held a “Dig Pink” match on Oct. 19. The Hounds  defeated their opponent in three quick sets.
The football team took part in “Light the Night” during its Oct. 26 game against the Kentucky Wesleyan College Panthers, winning in dominant fashion 52-0. Balloons purchased for $5 were released at the end of the third quarter, and the proceeds went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Ovar’Coming Together.
Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams participated in pink matches on Oct. 30., with each team’s players wearing pink jerseys to raise breast cancer awareness. The women’s team sold their jerseys after the game to raise money for cancer foundations. The men’s team came out on top 5-0 in its match, while the women’s match ended with a 0-0 final score following two overtimes.
Whether a friend, a relative, someone else’s story that you have heard about, or even a personal battle, everyone has some experiences with breast cancer. It is a dangerous disease, threatening many lives daily. But according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, breast cancer can be defeated. The projected date for this victory is 2020, according to NBCC, which says victory can be accomplished through research, access and influence.
Influence played a key role in the efforts of the UIndy athletic teams, as they played for more than just a game or a victory. They played for fans across the country, also in pink, fighting a common challenger. Just like those fans, these individuals have their own reasons for pushing awareness.
Junior volleyball player Kimberly Trojan said, “My great aunt passed away when I was really little from breast cancer. Before that I didn’t really realize that it [cancer] was so common. But as I’ve grown older, I realize how widespread it is and how important it is to be alert and get the knowledge out about it and treatment for it.”
Senior women’s soccer player Kaitlyn Braunig said, “For me, it was when I was shadowing and working in different physical therapy settings. Going into a medical profession, it’s obvious that it’s a big deal.”
Junior volleyball player Meghan Binkerd said, “When the NFL started doing their breast cancer awareness was when I first really became aware that this was a big deal. Now, being a part of a sport that is helping this campaign, I hope that people will see what we are doing and have that same realization [that] I had—that this is a big deal, but awareness can help.”
Junior women’s soccer player Kaitlin Grindlay said, “It all became so real to me when a friend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. The blessing is she was able to catch it at an early stage. That really inspires me to help spread awareness because not all women know the proper steps to help detect symptoms and avoid the risks of breast cancer.”
Goalkeepers Coach for Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rob Coonfield said, “Seeing people in my life affected by cancer made a big impact, as well as being a firefighter and seeing people lose their battles with cancer. These things made me realize how important it is for me to support this cause and make other people aware of how important it is.”
These are all accounts of the personal experiences of people involved in UIndy athletics and how these people are making a difference in the fight. It is important to remember that some people battle for more than conference championships, more than points and more than pride. Some people fight every day for the will to combat an opponent they cannot see and may not conquer. These past events and the entire month of October are intended to remind them that just as they cheer for us, we are cheering for them.


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