Several events scheduled for annual cancer awareness event
MURFREESBORO — 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 visits for a 2 p.m. Conference USA game. At a Monday press conference inside the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame, members of MT Athletic Department asked all fans to wear pink to the game to celebrate and honor those who have survived and honor those who have lost their battle with cancer.
Fans that wear pink to the game can purchase a discounted $5 ticket. The Blue Raiders will auction all 15 of the exclusive game-worn 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.
Prior to 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 officially founded on Dec. 3, 2007, from the vision of the organization’s namesake 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 facing her third bout with the disease.
Before her death, Yow joined forces with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation for Cancer Research to form the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding 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 thanks to the generosity and continued support of donors.
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” that day in September 2012 when a lump was diagnosed as breast cancer and 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 uninsured and 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 monies has been spent this 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 this past 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.”
PLAY 4KAY POWER OF PINK GAME EVENTS
• Select cancer survivors will stand with the Blue Raiders during the team introductions and national anthem.
• Commemorative Play 4Kay pink T-shirts will be thrown out during the game.
• The exclusive pink Blue Raider jerseys will be auctioned off after the game. Proceeds will benefit the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation’s Power of Pink breast cancer fund.
• A special autograph session with the Blue Raider basketball team will take place immediately after the game.