If you've been in the audience during one of the Claflin University Lady Panthers volleyball team's home games this month, there's a good chance you've seen more pink than orange and maroon.
The team, led by Coach Vernell Keitt-Capers, has volunteered to dress in pink for every home game in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The team distributed information on breast cancer at a local department store and also worked for Habitat for Humanity in the community this month. They baked 500 cupcakes with pink icing to give out to patrons at one home game as well.
In Tullis Arena, the team has constructed a Cancer Wall of Battle dedicated in honor and memory of those who have lost, are fighting or won the battle against cancer.
“Cancer is a disease that doesn't discriminate. It has or will impact us all in one form or another,” said Keitt-Capers. “We just want to contribute in a small way to bring awareness to this horrible illness.”
Sophomore Katherin Fischer knows all too well about breast cancer. When Fischer was too young to even grasp the severity of a cancer diagnosis, she learned her mother, Leopoldine, had the disease.
Unlike many women who have battled breast cancer, she survived and has been in remission for more than a decade. Despite her recovery, Fischer said that it took away much of her childhood. She drew strength from Leopoldine's positive attitude, which was that losing the battle to breast cancer wasn't an option.
“I play for her,” Fischer says of her mother.
Faith Simmons, a senior biology major from Columbus, Ohio, had two aunts who were diagnosed with breast cancer. One aunt, Linda Reed, survived but the other, Nadell Denby, passed away. Simmons said watching her aunts battle the disease taught her the importance of being a strong person.
“It taught me to fight,” she said. “You have to stay positive and have hope.”
She noted the team's fans have caught on to their cause. Many of them are wearing pink to the games.
“I actually heard people say they were going to buy something pink just to wear to the game,” said Simmons.