On Valentine's Day, amid all the cards, flowers, and candy boxes, Emerson's women's basketball players joined other female hoopsters across the country in donning pink and raising funds to fight breast cancer.
From Western Washington University to Manhattan College, student athletes participated in a recent awareness week called "Pink Zone."
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association described "Pink Zone" events as awareness-centered basketball games and fundraising events. During official "Pink Zone" dates, Feb. 13 through the 22, The Great Northeast Athletic Conference partnered with WBCA to host the campaign. All 13 of its institutions hosted "Pink Zone" games and raised funds for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund-WBCA's charity of choice.
The fund is named for Kay Yow, a women's basketball coach who succumbed to breast cancer on January 24 of this year. She won over 700 games during her career.
At Emerson College, the call to action began Monday, Feb. 7. Members of the Student-Athletic Advisory Council sold pink carnations and pink roses at tables outside the Dining Hall in the Little Building.
"We decided it would be a good idea to sell the pink flowers during this week because it was right before Valentine's Day so we thought it would be a good selling time," SAAC Secretary Anne Denenberg said.
One hundred percent of the proceeds went toward breast cancer research, benefiting the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Denenberg, a sophomore marketing communication major, said the event raised $350.
On Feb. 14, at the men's basketball team's win against St. Joseph's College, the members of the women's team wore pink T-shirts while waiting for their game to begin. The shirt's front displayed a horizontal pink breast cancer awareness ribbon and the words "Pink Zone," the back listed the member colleges of the GNAC.
During the women's win against St. Joseph's College, those competing wore their team uniform in compliance with NCAA rules; team members on the bench, however, continued to sport their "Pink Zone" shirts.
Senior guard Maude Okrah said she enjoyed the event.
"Whenever you have the opportunity to bring people together that are passionate about something like basketball and have them commit to something like this, it's a good thing."
Pink programs, listing members of both men's and women's basketball teams, were distributed announcing that this Valentine's Day was not only "Pink Zone" Breast Cancer Awareness Day, but also the women's basketball team's Senior Day.
"We've been doing this for two years," said Okrah, a marketing communication major. "It's good to know that throughout my career as a player, I also was able to give back and help people that need help."
"Pink Zone," which used to be called "Think Pink," began in 2007; in 2008, over 1,200 teams and organizations acted on the effort, raising over $930,000 for breast cancer research, according to the WBCA web site.
"Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for all women and the leading overall cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 20 and 59," according to the American Cancer Society.
Denenberg plays softball for Emerson, but feels that with the small events the SAAC holds, she is doing her part in making a difference.
"I think it's really important to hold events like this at Emerson to show the community that Emerson as well as the Athletics Department cares about these kinds of issues that many of our own family members and friends are dealing with."
The WBCA web site stated several coaches are
currently fighting the disease.
A handful of spectators in the bleacher seats at the basketball games were also adorned in pink-shirts, sweaters, and other pieces of clothing-showing their support of "Pink Zone" and their acknowledgment of St. Valentine.