By Isabella Daley
The Archbishop McNicholas High School Spirit Club chose the “Pink Out” theme for the varsity football game against Badin High School on Saturday, Oct. 28.
The game was meant to raise awareness for and honor those who have fought against breast cancer and reproductive cancers. McNicholas donated 100% of the proceeds from sales of pink t-shirts, baked goods, and paper ribbons to the Pink Ribbon Girls, an organization that provides various services for women battling breast and reproductive cancers in Ohio.
“I think it’s an important cause, and it’s fun to get the two teams together for the cause” Spirit Club Moderator Ashely Brothers said.
McNicholas was not the only high school to host a “Pink Out” game during the month of October. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many colleges, high schools, and junior high schools host their own versions of the Pink Ribbon Girls’ “Rumble for the Ribbon” Pink Games. According to Jan Middleton, the Director of Community Partners and Education for the Pink Ribbon Girls, these Pink Games began seven years ago when PRG’s founder Tracey Martin teamed up with Mount Saint Joseph University’s football team to hold the first game.
In seven years, the Pink Games have raised over $100,000, all of which went towards helping the families of those battling breast and reproductive cancers in the local area. Typically, a representative from PRG has attended each Pink Game to receive the donated money, to inform the school of how that money can be used, and to witness the ways in which each school personalizes their Pink Game celebration. According to Brothers, McNicholas raised about $1580 to donate to PRG at last year’s Pink Game.
McNicholas participated in a Pink Game for the first time during last year’s football game at Chaminade Julienne when the school invited the Rockets to coordinate the game theme for the night. Brothers decided to involve Spirit Club in planning for the Pink Game because they have been in charge of choosing game themes, decorating the school for upcoming events, and publicizing new spirit-related activities. “It is kind of our job to think of fun ways to raise money for these types of events. We add a little spirit to it,” Brothers said.
Middleton’s favorite aspect of the Pink Games is having the chance to work with students at numerous different schools to see the unique ways they add their spirit to each game’s festivities. “I want [students] to be engaged… I want [them] to feel good about it,” Middleton said. Middleton volunteered to be the PRG representative at the McNicholas Pink Game, and she said she loved telling the school exactly how PRG planned to use the money it received.
The Pink Ribbon Girls do not do any of their own fundraising and depend mostly on the donations from events like the Pink Games to cover the costs of their services. According to Middleton, PRG aims to “take some of that burden from everyday life” while women battle cancer. This includes providing rides to and from chemotherapy sessions, cooking meals for the entire families, and cleaning houses.
While there are many organizations that raise money to support those battling cancer, PRG’s services are meant more to aid the families while family members recover from cancer, rather than funding research or paying for treatments. Brothers and Middleton both expressed that PRG plays an important role, and both have known someone who battled against and survived breast cancer. For Brothers, it was her aunt, and for Middleton, it was her mom and herself. It was the overwhelming kindness and support Middleton encountered during her battle with breast cancer that encouraged her to work for PRG and “pay back this kindness and help others.”
PRG does not only focus on those battling breast cancer though, and it would like to gather more support for its mission in helping women with other reproductive cancers in the future. Middleton said the Pink Games have been successful and important, but she hopes to see some schools host Teal Games for reproductive cancers as well. “I would have given my right arm this year if a school would have done a Teal Game,” Middleton said. “I would have done a cartwheel, and I don’t do cartwheels.”