Athletics and CAC to promote WBCA Pink Zone initiative

NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College Department of Athletics is once again partnering with the institution's chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer through the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative, which will take place during next Wednesday's men's and women's basketball doubleheader.

The men kick things off at 5:30 p.m. against New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) power and nationally-ranked Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  The women follow at 7:30 p.m. with a league contest against Wellesley College.  That night Wheaton also plans to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD).

CAC, which aims to spread cancer awareness and education on college campuses, will have promotional materials and informational forms on breast cancer.  CAC also plans to hand out pink bracelets to those who pay an admission fee at the voluntary gate.

Proceeds will go to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, which was established under The V Foundation in December 2007.  It honors the former North Carolina State University women's coach, who worked alongside then men's coach Jim Valvano before he succumbed to cancer in 1993.  Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and lost her battle with the disease on January 24, 2009.

The Wheaton women plan on wearing pink sneakers, while both men's teams and Wellesley's women will don pink T-shirts during pre-game warm-ups.  Fans are also encouraged to wear pink and donate to research initiatives.  The WBCA has received a commitment from more than 1,350 institutions and organizations to participate in the program.  Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death for all women and the leading overall cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 20 and 59.

The NCAA has also joined the WBCA's Pink Zone initiative by continuing the "Calling for a Cure" campaign, in which all NCAA women's basketball officials will be blowing a pink whistle in games from February 12-21, the period set aside for this year's program.  Additionally, officials are encouraged to donate to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.  The NCAA raised $45,000 during the "Calling for a Cure" campaign over the past two years.

The WBCA Pink Zone initiative is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. 

Formerly known as "Think Pink", this initiative is in its fourth year.  In 2007, more than 120 schools unified for this effort and helped make the inaugural year a success.  In 2008, over 1,200 teams and organizations participated, reaching more than 830,000 fans and raising over $930,000 for breast cancer awareness and research.  The 2009 campaign raised over $1.3 million, reached more than 912,000 fans and unified over 1,600 participating teams and organizations.

For additional information on WBCA's Pink Zone, visit here.

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