Posted: February 3, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh women’s basketball will be fighting an opponent that transcends the basketball court on Feb. 14 during its game against Army in Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks will join more than 1,000 schools in participating in the WBCA Pink Zone event to raise funds and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
“Every person has been affected at some level by cancer,” Lehigh head coach Sue Troyan said. “I lost my mom to colon cancer, so it ties very closely to my heart and I want to do what I can to help the cause. And I think you can say that for almost every person.”
Lehigh Gas and Aesculap (the world’s largest manufacturer of surgical instruments) have pledged to donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research for every fan in attendance at the Feb. 14 game. Employees of those companies will be admitted free of charge, along with breast cancer patients and survivors through St. Luke’s Hospital’s support group programs.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, and to market out program to the public,” Troyan said. “Having the corporate backing from Lehigh Gas and Aesculap really gives us the incentive to go out there and work at it to get people to come out to the game to raise money for the cause.”
The Mountain Hawks will wear pink warm-up t-shirts before the game, and will have a pink breast cancer ribbon sticker on their uniforms during the game. Fans and staff are also encouraged to wear pink to the game to show their support, and fans will be given the pink stickers when they enter the arena.
Pink t-shirts can be purchased at Taylor Gym on Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the game against Army on Feb. 14 or any time on Lehighsports.com/store. They will be on sale for $12, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
With the passing of legendary North Carolina Sate head coach Kay Yow last month after her long battle with cancer, the event takes on even more significance for Troyan and her team.
“Kay Yow was a very influential role model to women’s basketball coaches,” Troyan said. “And she was very involved in starting the whole Pink Zone initiative three years ago. I think losing her last month really hit home to everybody in the coaches association, whether you knew her or not.”
The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond.
The WBCA began the WBCA Pink Zone, formerly known as "Think Pink,” in 2007 as an initiative to raise breast cancer awareness in women's basketball, on campuses and in communities. In 2007, more than 120 schools unified for this effort and helped make the inaugural year a success. In 2008, over 1,200 teams and organizations participated, reaching over 830,000 fans and raising over $930,000 for breast cancer awareness and research.
Lehigh will be wearing its pink t-shirts for the first time when it travels to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to take on American at 4 p.m.