Written by Head Coach Debbie Kirch
Several years ago, the Green Bay volleyball team started its breast cancer awareness program. The program was initially called Blocks for Breast Cancer and our goal was to raise awareness for the disease as well as raise funds for research to help beat this disease. Over years, programs such as Pink Nights, Dig Pink, Dig for a Cure, to name a few have taken off as the sport of volleyball, at all levels, does its part to combat this disease that has taken so many lives. It is unbelievable how quickly these programs have grown and how much money they have raised. And it is not limited to the sport of volleyball. Major League Baseball's Pink Bat program on Mother's Day, National Football League's Pink Sundays during the month of October, etc. During this time of year, the country is covered in Pink!
And yet with all the education and funds being raised, it is something that still directly affects almost 1 in every 8 women and indirectly affects many more. Ironically, the year we started our program, we found out one of our player's mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her mom battled the disease while trying to make it to as many of her daughter's matches as possible during her senior year. It was not only tough to watch the family have to deal with this, but it also made our Blocks for Breast Cancer program even that much more personal. It showed us all how quickly this disease can affect our lives and just how many people it did affect - not just their immediate family, but all their "extended" families like their Phoenix volleyball family. Thankfully she recovered and was there to watch her daughter get married this past July!
Our Blocks for Breast Cancer program which started as a program sponsored specifically by the volleyball team, has grown into the Compete to Beat initiative which is a department-wide program sponsored by Green Bay athletics. We felt we could make a bigger impact if we all worked together as a department. This year for volleyball, our Compete to Beat event has included pink t-shirt sales, an online auction of donated items, donation boxes throughout the Kress Center during all our home matches in October and our annual Pink Out Match (last week vs. Marquette).
I want to first thank everyone who has participated in our program so far this season by purchasing a pink T, putting a few dollars in our donation boxes, bidding on our auction items and attending our matches during the month of October. I hope you realize that you have made a difference. And there is still time to make an impact because we have two more home matches this month - tonight @ 7 pm vs. Cleveland State and tomorrow @ 2 pm vs. Youngstown State. So come on out to the matches, buy a T, put in your bid, pick up a pink ribbon. Saturday, October 23 is National Make A Difference Day - what better way to make a difference!