by: Amani Anderson

As many students know, October is the month dedicated to Breast Cancer: a form of cancer that is developed from breast tissue. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those of any other cancer; 12% of women in the U.S will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime according to source. Many organizations worldwide bring people together annually by assembling “Race for the Cure” races to raise money for this cause. For example, the NFL raises awareness by wearing pink socks, mouth guards, and under armor. This awareness campaign is called “A Crucial Catch” and is created in partnership with the American Cancer society; they are focused on annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older. Here at home, Stuart also helps raise awareness for breast cancer from volleyball matches to new school wide ideas.

The Raider volleyball team participates in a Dig Pink match every season. This match is held in October as a part of Breast Cancer Awareness month and is a small part of a huge effort by the Side Out Foundation to have volleyball teams at all levels promote awareness and raise funds to eradicate this terrible disease. The Side Out Foundation was started locally by a volleyball coach whose life was impacted by breast cancer. When he finally confessed to his team about his mother’s breast cancer, the team worked harder and won unexpected matches. By doing so, they inspired his mother to fight on. “The money is sent to the Side Out Foundation. We have an online account set up for donations by the community as well. We don’t always host the event but the players try to collect spare change each year and that is donated. Even when no money is collected the event raises awareness and supports research, early detection, and honors the survivors and the memory of those who have died of breast cancer. An estimated amount of what we have raised over the past would be around $2, 000,” said Volleyball Coach Ms. Ponton.

This year her team, with the help of the varsity cheerleaders, hosted the Dig Pink match on October 1st as they played T.C Williams. They decorated the gym, sold tickets, and put together raffle baskets where all proceeds go to the Side Out Foundation. Along with this, the coach has new ideas to raise awareness, “I am contacting a women’s hospital to see if we could do a school wide event where everyone would bring something to make you feel beautiful – i.e., nail polish, headband, lipstick, etc. and we could bundle them up and deliver them to a women’s hospital cancer ward.”  Volleyball and cheer aren’t the only ones who can raise awareness at Stuart, “Breast cancer is important for everyone – doesn’t matter men or women. I believe the more we raise for research, the more we can do locally to make people feel good about themselves.” Said Cheer coach Ms. O’Rourke.