Cancer touches almost everyone at one point in their lives. By the time we reach high school, we can all name at least one person we know who had cancer. Supporting the search for the cure is a good way to prevent the next generation from saying the same. Last year, the Holy Angels Academy basketball team decided that trying to beat cancer would be an even better reward than winning games.
It all started with Deb Green, mom of then freshman and junior varsity basketball player Jen Green. Suffering from breast cancer, she came up with the idea for HAA vs. Cancer to raise money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute throughout the basketball season. She got together with other team members' moms Kim Foster, Lynne Griebner and Pia O'Connor, and they came up with a plan to "Pink the Court" at Holy Angels basketball games. They got pink shirts, shoelaces and socks for the teams to wear and pink polos for the coaches. Foster, who had made bracelets as a hobby, thought they would be a fun, popular way to raise funds.
After all their hard work, the team gave more than $2,000 to Roswell Park last year.
Last spring, Green lost her fight against breast cancer, but the memory of her has inspired the team to "Pink the Court" again this year. A plaque near the snack stand pays tribute to the woman who made the basketball season a little brighter, with a touch of pink. Foster, who can always be seen beading and selling bracelets, keeps a memory card of Green in her bead container. She says it's to remind her of why they started doing it in the first place, and to inspire her every time she opens it.
Pink the Court nights are always full of fans and players wearing pink and hoping to win one of the baskets being raffled off. Around 200 pink celebration certificates with the names of those who fought or are fighting cancer cover the walls of the gym. They remind everyone that HAA vs. Cancer is about more than wearing pink and getting new bracelets.
Danielle Jones, a sophomore on the JV team, said, "Basketball's a popular sport, so it's a great way to spread the message that we care, that Holy Angels cares."
The results have been outstanding. Selling the celebration certificates, a pink dress-down day for Holy Angels students, donation jars and selling raffle tickets at games have helped raise about $900 so far. The bracelets alone have raised $750 already, and there are plans to continue selling them at elementary school basketball tournaments and at the Ride for Roswell.
The cause is close to everyone's hearts at Holy Angels, and even those who didn't know Green are willing to help. Another season is a coming to a close, but the spirit of Green and all cancer victims will never die and the search for a cure will continue with the help of this year's donation.
Kristina Macro is a junior at Holy Angels Academy.