Basketball aids cancer research to find a cure

Cancer’s cold dark shadow breaks its way into the homes of many families, almost leaving no one untouched. However, efforts have been made to stop the progress of this disease and many organizations and foundations have been aiding in this campaign.

Photo by Kelsie Ammann
Photo by Kelsie Ammann

Bethany athletic teams are also getting into the mix, working to raise money to help fund the research for a cure. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have started down different avenues for a common goal.

The Bethany Men’s Basketball team is collecting money for Relay for Life, through the sale of wristbands and donations. This is the second year the whole team has actively predicated in the Relay for Life.

“Basically, everyone on our team has been affected by cancer in some way. It is something that affects millions of people every year. It is a really good cause and it is a small thing we can do as a team to bond and give back to the community, as well as trying to fight the horrible disease of cancer,” senior Derek Peterson said.

“Personally, my grandma Pearl; she died of colon cancer and my aunt never smoked one day in her life and she died of lung cancer. Then I have family friends that have been affected by cancer. There was also a high school friend, who had leukemia that ended up passing away from it. So, it has affected me in quite a big way,” Peterson said.

Relay for Life is a fundraising drive for the American Cancer Society, which involves participants who raised money and spend the night walking around a track in honor of those who have cancer and have lost their lives through this disease or survivors to tell their story, according to  RelayforLife.org.

The team will be walking in Bethany’s Relay for Life fundraiser on Apr. 19.

Peterson said, “One day I was sitting on the couch and thinking. I have always like wristbands. Then I went online, typed in ‘wristband’ and saw that there was a red and black pattern. I thought it would be awesome to make some and sell them for Relay.”

“So then, I had to talk to the Vice President [Steve Jaeger] of the college to see if it was okay, because of infringement purposes since it is using [Bethany’s] name, but since it was going to a good cause, he was more than willing. So, I put in the order and we got 200 wristbands and so far we sold about a 100 of them. So, $200 right now is going to Relay for Life and hopefully we can get the rest sold here soon,” said Peterson.

The Bethany Women’s Basketball Team held their own fundraiser to bring awareness to breast cancer, using the color pink.

On the Friday Feb. 8 home game versus Northwestern, they help their annual Play4Kay.

“Play4Kay foundation was founded in honor of a former basketball coach at North Carolina State [Kay Yow] who passed away from breast cancer after many battles; she got it three times. Basically, all the teams do something,” said Head Women’s Basketball coach Tiffany Young Klockziem.

“On [Feb. 8], we had a pink event. So everyone wore pink, they had pink shoelaces, pink t-shirts and a pink ball [to warm up with] but it was that was flat to raise awareness. Then we had t-shirts that [senior] Kelsie Ammann designed and we tried to sell those. We still have some left and all profits go to the charity. It is primarily to raise awareness because almost everyone has been affected by this in some way and also to raise funds for research,” said Young Klockziem.

According to Play4Kay.org, some $2 million has been raised for women’s cancer research. Yow created the fund with the hopes of making experimental treatments available to patients with cancer. The main fundraising comes from women basketball teams, who use the game to bring awareness to the disease.

“Since I began coaching, we have done something with it. So, I would say at least eight years, where we have been doing something; where we have one night, one of our last home games is dedicated to that event. It used to be called WBCA [Women’s Basketball Coaches Association] Pink Zone. All of the colleges in our conference do this, at some point or another,” Young Klockziem said.

“Over half of [the Bethany Women’s Basketball team] has been affected [by cancer] and my mother-in-law died of breast cancer before I ever got to meet her. So, it is something close to my family’s heart as well. Over half of them have been affected, but hopefully the focus will be on the survivors and the courage, integrity and character they developed when they fought a disease like this,” said Young Klockziem.

Wristbands can be bought from Peterson for $2 by contacting derekjp@gmail.com. The Women’s Basketball team still has pink t-shirts for sale, which say things like ‘Only Real Men Wear Pink’ or ‘Pink is my Signature Color,’ for $10 by contacting Young Klockziem at tyoung@blc.edu.

Peterson said, “I just urge everyone to get out and participate. Even though it is a small campus, we can rally together to fight for finding a cure for cancer. It is something that affects everybody, some way, somehow. Whether it is a loved one who died or a young person that they know, a friend that they have watched suffer. So, I would just urge everyone to get out and be active in the Bethany community and the community itself to try and raise as much money as we can.”

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