The SUNY New Paltz Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams showed their support in the battle against breast cancer by hosting Think Pink Night on Friday, Feb. 10.
The first in a doubleheader contest against rival SUNY Cortland, the Women’s team took to the courts with a 73-62 victory, sporting pink shirts as visual representation for the cause.
“Think Pink is a great way to spread awareness for breast cancer,” fourth-year Co-Captain Kaitlin Clifford said. “It is also a good way to fundraise for the cause and get the campus and community involved.”
The Think Pink Foundation, according to their website thinkpink.org, is a volunteer-based, independently run charity focused on raising funds to provide financial and emotional support to breast cancer
“My aunt had breast cancer that was removed at an early stage,” Clifford said. “Every summer she organizes a walk in Breezy Point, N.Y. called ‘The Sunset Walk’ where all the donations go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”
Think Pink distinguishes itself by focusing its efforts on direct financial support for patients in the midst of their journeys, the website said.
“Personally, no, I do not have any personal ties that sway my judgment,” fourth-year Co-Captain Caitlin Irwin said. “But there are so many women in this country that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. I am lucky enough to help raise awareness for those in need.”
According to a report done by the American Cancer Society, about 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually worldwide, with approximately 465,000 dying from the disease.
“The WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaching Association) started promoting Think Pink several years ago,” Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jamie Seward said. “They basically designate a week that every Women’s Basketball team in America will have some type of event at their respective school.”
Seward said the crowd on Think Pink Night is comprised of both students and members of the New Paltz community.
“People take pride in representing,” Men’s Basketball Head Coach Team Mike Rejniak said. “There are more people in the stands because of the benefit behind the game.”
The Men’s Basketball team was defeated by SUNY Cortland in a 69-60 SUNYAC match up. The team was not discouraged and demonstrated its support for the cause by wearing pink shoelaces during the game.
Wellness & Recreation was able to raise $529.75 for the Komen Foundation by selling Think Pink T-shirts and raffle tickets during the event.
“There really is no ceiling to what can be done,” Rejniak said. “It is the sense of self-pride, with no personal recognition, that makes practicing and coaching for this game less of a job and more of a privilege.”