The SIU women’s basketball team will switch its maroon and white jerseys for pink ones Saturday to create awareness for a serious cause.
The team will participate in the Coaches vs. Cancer movement for the second consecutive year, wearing pink attire to bring attention to breast cancer awareness.
Coaches vs. Cancer — a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that encourages teams to participate in the fight against cancer — will be highlighted by the annual SIU Pink Zone game Saturday at the SIU Arena against the Creighton University Blue Jays.
The Salukis will wear pink shooting shirts, jerseys and accessories to display both their involvement in and contribution to the cause.
According to the American Cancer Society’s website, more than 2,000 Division I, II and III college coaches participate in the program. Coaches vs. Cancer has raised almost $50 million since 1998 to support the American Cancer Society, the website stated.
Coach Missy Tiber said joining other universities and schools across the country to raise breast cancer awareness is a good way for players to support all patients affected by the disease.
“It’s an initiative for all coaches, the players and the administration to embrace,” Tiber said. “What better cause to support and have the opportunity to help fight breast cancer? That’s just something we want to be a part of.”
Tiber said her aunt is a breast cancer survivor and, whether people are immediately affected by the disease or not, supporting the cause would help others.
According to the American Cancer Society’s website, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed among women, as well as an estimated 57,650 additional cases of in situ breast cancer — early cancer that has not spread to nearby tissue — per year. Roughly 39,520 women are expected to die each year from breast cancer, the website stated.
Junior guard Teri Oliver said it’s important to help raise breast cancer awareness, especially for those who have loved ones affected by the disease.
“I believe raising awareness is important for females of all ages,” Oliver said. “Both my grandmothers had breast cancer. One lost her fight, and the other survived.”
Oliver said the Pink Zone game is important to her because it reminds her of her grandmothers’ struggles and how valuable it is to raise awareness for women with cancer.
Indigo Donnelly, a sophomore from Chicago studying fashion merchandising, said breast cancer awareness should be emphasized consistently throughout the year.
Donnelly has a pink breast cancer ribbon tattooed on her right shoulder to symbolize the fight for breast cancer. She said she has two family members affected by cancer, one survivor and the other deceased.
“We must raise awareness,” Donnelly said.