Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 8, 2013

'Pink out' game to help breast cancer patients

Nicole Dominique
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — St. Anthony students are looking forward to a cancer-free future with a special Pink Out boys basketball game set to take place on Friday, Jan. 18.

The school invites all attendants to wear pink to the game, which is in its second year and dubbed "Playing Tonight for a Cure Tomorrow" and sponsored by St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital. Players and coaches will also participate with pink shoelaces and shirts as the Bulldogs take on the Stewardson-Strasburg Comets  -- and breast cancer awareness.

A limited quantity of pink shirts and wristbands will be sold at the game to benefit breast cancer awareness and education at the hospital. In addition, the first 100 girls to arrive will receive free pink hair extensions. A percentage of the game's proceeds will be donated to the cause as well.

"Last year we deemed it a success," said Michael Wall, executive director of Fund Development at the hospital. "It's quite a sight to be standing on the gym floor, looking at both teams" decked out in pink. "People get it -- they understand it."

Students will also honor those who have fought first-hand in the battle against breast cancer, including one-year survivor Tammy Keller, eight-year survivor Brenda Milleville and nine-year survivor Sandy Gillespie.

Honorees will be recognized in a ceremony between the junior varsity and varsity games. A check presentation will also take place at that time. The event is an extension of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, which teams with local high school sports teams to spread the message about early breast cancer detection.

"This one is really a kudos to the students,"  Wall said. "They've been selling T-shirts, wrist bands and (are having) a bake sale. It's really student driven."

Paper ribbons will be for sale at the game for buyers to sign in support of the cause. Funds raised by this event, and others like it, go into a restricted fund overseen by the Friends of St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital. The money is used to purchase things for newly diagnosed cancer patients to bring understanding and order into their changed lives.

The items include a book about breast cancer, an organizer to keep track of appointments, an under-arm pillow for after surgery and a bag to put everything in.

"We have anywhere from 60 to 80 newly diagnosed patients every year," said Marilyn Boone, St. Anthony's Women's Wellness manager. "(Those items) make life more organized for them."

Hospital representatives are optimistic about the students' fundraising efforts.

"This community really engages in benefitting their fellow people," Wall said. "You're making a difference where you live."

"I hope a lot of people are in attendance with their pink shirts on," Boone said. "We're grateful the school's thinking of us like this and (the people they know) who have breast cancer. They're making them (the honorees) feel so appreciated by the student body. It's really remarkable, doing such a thing."

Nicole Dominique can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or at nicole.dominique@effinghamdailynews.com.