From the NFL to high school, sports across the nation are chipping in to help the fight against breast cancer and Central Michigan University is no exception.
During the month of October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – the Chippewas will don pink to show support.
“This is my 14th year here at CMU and probably the fifth year we’ve done a concerted effort (to support breast cancer),” said Associate Athletic Director for Marketing, Sales and Corporate Relations Nick Williams. “Women’s basketball and their coaches association did some things before, mostly because of Kay Yow (head women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State for 34 years, who died of breast cancer in 2009 and started the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in 2007).”
The support doesn’t end with women’s basketball, though. Women’s sports in general are sporting pink apparel.
Each women’s sports team has its own cancer research fund where donations go. This includes special days planned to show support for breast cancer awareness.
“Sideout Foundation does the Dig Pink game and for soccer and field hockey…both are through a national foundation for cancer research,” said Coordinator of Marketing and Community Relations Lee Herteg. “We create websites where people can go and make donations.”
In addition to the websites with donations, the merchandise seen on the field – whether it be polos worn by coaches or equipment by players – is for sale, and all proceeds go to the coaches association research fund.
Football is also in on the support, with homecoming being the pink game this season. Coaches and players alike will be sporting apparel that fans can purchase.
This season, the staff is working on having extra merchandise besides typical T-shirts. They are looking to add hats, pink rally towels and scarves.
“Our goal is to have multiple options,” Williams said. “When we have accessories with football or some of the other sports, the biggest thing we get is: ‘How do we get that hat or whatever it might be?’ So this year, we’re going to look at a variety of items.”
CMU athletics does not do this all on its own, though. The group has help from people on campus, whether it be a class or a Greek organization.
Vince Mumford’s PES 320 class is helping promote the football game day plans as well as the first-ever Pink Bowl flag football tournament, while sorority Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy is breast cancer awareness.
Off-campus, the American Cancer Society has also lent a helping hand.
“Last year, we worked with a class and they pre-sold a large number of shirts for us,” Williams said. “Those proceeds were divided up and sent out to different agencies. We ended up raising well over $1,000 last year for (multiple funds) for breast cancer awareness.”
Along with the homecoming football game, volleyball’s “Dig Pink” match will be Oct. 25, field hockey’s “Stick it to Cancer” will be Oct. 26, and soccer’s “Kick it to Cancer” is scheduled for Oct. 13.