By Mark A. Hodgkin
Twitter - @Mark_Hodgkin
As the calendar moves to February, women’s college basketball fans will be seeing quite a lot of pink. Teams from across the country will don pink uniforms, sweatbands, sneakers and more to raise awareness for breast cancer.
The initiative is the work of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a 501 c(3) charitable organization dedicated to funding research on women’s cancers. The Fund was established in 2007 by longtime North Carolina State head coach Kay Yow, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and succumbed during her third bout with the disease. The fund was established in partnership with the V Foundation and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and has raised over $7M to date.
The organization’s most recognizable public effort is the Play 4Kay series of games in which teams wear pink and hold special events around games to raise money for the cause. This year, BIG EAST teams will again support the cause by hosting Play 4Kay games. A full schedule of events can be found here.
“Kay Yow was an inspiring coach and pioneer for the game of women's basketball and, more importantly, her legacy as a humanitarian continues to have an impact on our nation,” said BIG EAST Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball Danielle Donehew. “It is of the greatest importance that our conference continues to support and promote her legacy in order to continue the battle against women's cancers. In her name, in commemoration of her fight and in honor of everything she has done for our sport, we strive to spread the word about this initiative to save lives and find a cure.”
|"I feel like I had zero control over getting cancer, but I have 100 percent control over how I will respond to dealing with cancer." - Coach Kay Yow
Five of the games will be on national television including three on ESPN2 as well as the BIG EAST Network Game of the Week on February 16 between Syracuse and Pittsburgh (also streamed on BIGEAST.org).
In addition to the games, two BIG EAST Coaches currently serve on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board of Directors – Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma and DePaul assistant Jill Pizzotti.
If fans would like to make a donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund they can do so by visiting the Fund’s official website, KayYow.com, or the event’s homepage, Play4Kay.org