The Storm goes pink to fight cancer

by Lexie HagertyStaff Writer

The women’s basketball team will help support the Kay Yow/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Cancer fund as they hold a fundraiser and awareness day while playing Coe College on Saturday, Feb. 21.

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer fund was founded in December 2007. All of the money raised for the fund is put towards scientific cancer research.

“Last year was our first year with it,” coach Brian Niemuth said. “It is a great cause and so we have decided to do it again.”

The fund was named after Kay Yow, a former North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach, who passed away in January 2009. She was a past president and founding member of the WBCA.

The fund encourages teams to become part of the “pink zone,” in which each team can hold special fundraisers to support the cause.

At the game, coaches and players on both teams are encouraged to wear something pink.

For the Simpson girls, it is usually pink pre-wrap and pink shoelaces. To raise money, the Storm holds a silent auction for two pink autographed basketballs, a pink Kay Yow blanket and pink Crocs.

“Hopefully, people will ask us why we are wearing pink and we will tell them it’s to support breast cancer,” Niemuth said.

Niemuth said that first and foremost, their main goal in holding the fundraiser is for awareness.

“The most significant part of that night is bringing it to people’s attention and acknowledging those who have gone through that,” senior center Jayna Fischbach said.

The Kay Yow fund is in partnership with Nike, The Hartford and the V Foundation for Cancer Research, named after the late Jimmy Valvano, also a former men’s basketball coach for North Carolina State University. The partners help ensure that all money raised from the fund goes to cancer research.

Both funds are for cancer research and awareness, but the V Foundation is involved with men’s basketball while the Kay Yow fund is directed towards women’s basketball.

“We try to, as a team, focus on what the importance of the day means and especially try to remember all those who are fighting cancer,” senior center Maria Oliver said.

Niemuth said that the awareness day not only affects the audience, but the players as well.

“They say that one out of every two people has someone in their life affected by cancer,” Niemuth said. “I do think that it’s touched some of the people on the team, and it’s a little bit more personal to them because they do know people who have breast cancer or some other type of cancer and has gone through it or passed away from it.”

Oliver said cancer is a fear of every woman.

“Personally, I feel that it is something that happens to a lot of women and it’s something that does affect a lot of people’s lives,” Oliver said. “People should be aware and know about it and want to find a cure.”

Niemuth said that the girls know what they are doing the fundraiser for and know that it is a good cause.

“It gets people talking about it, especially young girls,” Fischbach said. “It informs them about facts and the importance of self-exams.”

The Simpson team hopes to make the fundraiser an annual event.

“We were excited to be part of it and will continue to do so,” Niemuth said. “I see no reason why we would stop.”