Athletics and SSSR to participate in fifth annual WBCA Pink Zone initiative

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College Department of Athletics and Office of Service, Spirituality and Social Responsibility (SSSR) will be raising awareness in the fight against breast cancer through the fifth annual Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone initiative, which is scheduled to occur during next Wednesday's men's and women's basketball doubleheader.

The women kick things off at 5:30 p.m. against New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) school Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  The men follow at 7:30 p.m. with a league contest against Babson College.  Overall, the WBCA Pink Zone has raised nearly $3.3 million dollars, reached almost 2.7 million fans and unified over 4,700 participants in only four years.

Proceeds will go to the Kay Yow 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 will wear pink T-shirts and sneakers, while MIT's women will don pink T-shirts during pre-game warm-ups.  Fans are encouraged to wear pink and donate to research initiatives.  In addition to the Lyon mascot tossing out pink T-shirts, fans will have the opportunity to win a pair of Red Sox tickets, with the raffle winner announced at halftime of the women's game.  For on-campus folks, stop by the Pink Zone table in the Balfour-Hood Café on February 8th and 9th from 12:00-2:00 p.m.

The WBCA has received a commitment from hundreds of 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 11-20, the period set aside for this year's program.  Additionally, officials are encouraged to donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

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 began in 2007, as 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.  In 2010, over 1,800 participants came together to surpass $1,045,000 in donations and reached more than 922,000 fans across the nation.

For additional information on WBCA's Pink Zone, visit www.wbca.org/2011pinkzone.

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