The basketball, volleyball and boys’ swim teams made sure they didn’t limit awareness to the month of October, so each of these teams put their own twist on how they can support breast cancer awareness.
After last year’s success with the “Pink and Blue” night, Peggy Miller and her son’s organization, the Bret Miller 1T foundation, returned for the second annual “Pink and Blue” night on Jan. 10.
The Bret Miller 1T Foundation, founded by Peggy and Bret, informs high school and college students around the nation about men’s breast cancer. Bret is an SME alum and three-year breast cancer survivor who has dedicated himself to raising awareness.
At the game, players warmed up in pink T-shirts and entered the court through a tunnel of lancer dancers.
“When I first came into the gym, all I could see were pink bandanas waving everywhere,” freshman Katie Kuhlman said. “It was crowded, sweaty, but super energetic!”
Burgundy and blue bandanas were passed around the stands for fans to wear creatively. The winners were awarded gift cards to Chick-fil-a for the best worn bandanas.
Between shooting contests, fans draping themselves in bandanas and a roaring student section, energy was high throughout the night.
At half time, players collected donations from fans at each of the four games. In the end, the proceeds added up to $412.90 and were evenly distributed between the Bret Miller 1T Foundation and Susan G. Komen.
During the fall season, the JV and varsity volleyball teams took part in the annual “Dig Pink” tournament. Hosted by BV West, Dig Pink is the Side-Out Foundation‘s national October breast cancer rally established in 2004. Proceeds raised through donations and tournament fees benefit the Side-Out Foundation, which in turn awards grants to medical research organizations. It is also dedicated to providing patient services to breast cancer patients and their families.
The girls played teams from Olathe South and BV Southwest. Each school wore different shades of pink T-shirts and played two matches throughout the day. Before their first match, the players’ names were announced as they ran onto the court and the girls threw pink rubber ducks to their fans on the sidelines.
Mid-day, all matches were paused for any family members or friends of a player that had breast cancer or is currently fighting it to walk alongside the athlete onto the court as an honoree. Sophomore Hannah Ream’s grandmother Donna Limbaugh, a seven year survivor, walked out with Ream last year.
“I loved it because my grandma had breast cancer and freshman year she came and I honored her at it,” Ream said. “She grabbed my hand and we walked out in front of everyone, and even though everyone was there for cancer, it felt like a family environment.”
For the first time ever, the boys’ swim team is hosting a “Pink Out” meet on their senior night, Jan. 21. There, the team will be selling pink swim caps to the attending swimmers and Columbia blue wristbands to anyone else supporting breast cancer. Proceeds will be donated to the University of Kansas’ cancer program.
Senior Ian Lee and his father Dane had been thinking about doing something in support of breast cancer since last summer.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer my freshman year and she won her fight,” Lee said. “So we wanted to help others with their fights too.”
They had researched different ways to raise money for the cause and discovered that several college swim teams do fundraisers similar to East’s “Pink Out.” From there, Lee informed his coach and his team of his plan.
“I think it was a great idea by Ian; I’m just glad we can help out as a team,” boys varsity swim team coach Wiley Wright said.
But it wasn’t only his coach that appreciated his proposal. Sophomore swimmer Adam Bublitz commended Ian and his father for their new idea.
“That’s awesome that Ian’s family got this together,” Bublitz said, “It’s a great cause and it’s a huge meet. I’m excited to see everyone in their pink gear, also.”