WILDWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – It’s a staggering truth. In all likelihood at least one player on both the Lafayette and Marquette High School Volleyball teams will one day be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The National Cancer Institute states that one of every eight women will be affected by the disease.
With rosters of 12 or more players each, Mustangs and Lancers know the chances they live with.
“One in eight, I mean that’s at least one girl on a team that could possible get it,” says Lafayette senior Hannah Flowers. “So it just makes it that more important for us to help raise awareness and money for this cause.”
October 15, is the last game of the season for both teams and they will meet for an annual rivalry game, with a new twist. They have taken on a Dig Pink Challenge.
All Volleyball, St. Louis’ only volleyball exclusive store, asked Lafayette to first accept the challenge to raise a minimum of $45,000 by the end of the season. With the proceeds going to the Side-Out Foundation to support patients fighting breast cancer.
Lafayette head coach Zach Young says he was immediately honored, and knew the perfect game to make it happen.
“Automatically we said, ‘You know Marquette is a great rivalry and we usually have a pretty good game,'” Young says. “And I know that they have done dig pink games in the past and so we are going to team up with them and see what we can do.”
Marquette head coach Jared Kreienkamp says they have held Dig Pink nights for the last four seasons. He believes it’s a certain community that makes these events work.
“The volleyball community in St. Louis is special because it’s a very tight knit community,” Kreienkamp says.
So small in fact, that he has known Young since he was a teenager, because he played on a team coached by Young’s dad.
Now Kreienkamp and Young share a friendly rivalry on the court. And they are using their passionate fan bases to help the tragic number of people who have been affected by breast cancer.
Like Marquette senior Haillie Sidney, who’s grandmother fought breast cancer, and died five years ago from it.
Sidney has used her school’s Dig Pink nights to honor her grandmother’s fight. None more special than her first Dig Pink game when she was a sophomore.
“We ended up actually winning,” Sidney says. “But just being able to raise money was so much bigger than the actual win.”
And she’ll get another chance at it when her team plays at Lafayette on October 15. Fans are being encouraged to buy t-shirts, make dig pledges and donate money at All Volleyball’s website to help reach the $45,000 goal.
And if you have a rooting interest in the game, you can even pick a side to donate to.
“You don’t have to donate hundreds of dollars to make a difference,” Kreienkamp says. “You can donate a few dollars. And everything helps us get towards that goal.”
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