Author: Emily Bell
Occidental’s fall sports teams are stepping up to help raise awareness for breast cancer during the month of October. Through the combined effort of the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and the Colleges Against Cancer club on campus, the teams have united to show support for the cause.
“We started talking about how to get a lot of the school involved and thought that athletes would be a good link to both get athletes involved and link them to the rest of the student body,” men’s soccer player and OCE member Douglas Pentland (junior) said.
Every team has incorporated pink into their uniform, wearing an array of armbands, shirts, socks, shoe laces, pins, bows, temporary tattoos and even hair dye. ”I started by emailing all the coaches to see if they would be interested and all of them said yes. It was really easy to coordinate,” captain of the Dance Team and OCE member Eleni Duret (sophomore) said.
In addition to wearing pink armbands, the football team wrote messages to a cancer support group at the Huntington Hospital Cancer Center.
“A lot of the guys were affected by cancer, there are stories across our whole team and so [the Office of Community Engagement] came to us and we agreed to do it. Each player filled out one or two small cards and now they’ve turned it into a poster that they will present to this support group,” Director of Football Operations and Defensive Line Coach Justin Luthey said.
The football team also brought in Bob Kinzel, a male breast cancer survivor, to educate and inspire students and athletes to fight against cancer. He gave a presentation open to the entire student body before speaking to the football team about cancer awareness and activism.
Football is not the only team making an effort to raise breast cancer awareness.
By partnering with the American Cancer Society to help send proceeds to fund mammograms for low-income families, the dance team at Occidental is also supporting the cause.
“The dance team each purchased their own shirts and the money for them goes to mammograms,” Duret said.
The dance team also choreographed a special dance for breast cancer awareness which they performed at last Saturday’s football game. In addition to the armbands they wear during games, the men’s soccer team will be selling t-shirts with the Colleges Against Cancer club later this month. The volleyball team has arranged a Cancer Awareness night for their last home game on Oct. 27th. According to volleyball coach Heather Collins, the gym will be decorated in pink and the team will warm-up in pink awareness shirts. They will be encouraging donations to the cause at the door.
“All the coaches and all the students have been really encouraging and completely into it. A lot of coaches are already asking me for more of the equipment because they want their team to wear more and for it to be more noticeable,” Duret said.
The teams will continue to wear pink and participate in events throughout the month of October. This increased involvement has integrated the athletic part of the college with the student body in a combined effort to raise awareness.
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