Pink smoke and balloons clouded Bob Jones Stadium late last month, bringing awareness to the battle against breast cancer.
Since 2009, Fort Mill High School has hosted Pink Out, an event to honor cancer survivors, said Beverly DeMayo, a breast cancer survivor and Pink Out coordinator.
Andrea Godbolt, one of the founding committee members, said she has two recurring forms of breast cancer. Eight years ago, she came up with the idea to have a ceremony honoring three faculty members of Fort Mill who were experiencing treatment.
“It started out as a small little Pink Out for our JV game,” Godbolt said. “We figured what little we raised we could donate and every year it’s gotten bigger and bigger.”
For the past two years, Fort Mill High School has been ranked the No.1 high school fundraiser in the United States for contributing to the fight against breast cancer.
Last month marked the school’s fifth season partnering with the American Cancer Society and the National Football League for their campaign, “A Crucial Catch.” Fort Mill High was one of the first schools to join the campaign, which began in 2012.
“A Crucial Catch” helps to provide mammogram screenings and other patient services to those going through treatment. According to the Pink Out Committee, every year a different local facility receives a grant from the funds.
“It’s nice to know that we are contributing to resources for those women who don’t have the resources to make it to their chemo and the ACS (American Cancer Society) will get them there,” said Judy LaFoe, member of the Pink Out committee.
The majority of funds are raised from T-shirt sales and by summoning local eateries in what they call “Restaurant Wars.” Thirteen local restaurants participated this year, with a featured Pink Out menu. A portion of the sales benefit Pink Out, said Pink Out coordinator Kay Click.
Last year, Pink Out raised close to $22,000, with almost $9,000 coming from “Restaurant Wars.”
To celebrate last year’s success, Fort Mill High School was given the Pink Cleat Award by the Carolina Panthers and the American Cancer Society.
“We are always looking for new ways to raise funds,” Click said.
This year, supporters covered the stadium with pink to commemorate those who have been affected by cancer. At halftime of a Yellow Jackets football game, 13 roses were given to cancer survivors, called warriors by Pink Out organizers. Tears rolled as the survivors accepted the token and an embrace.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized for beating such an ugly disease and being a survivor,” DeMayo said.
Want to help
If you want to contribute, you can do it until Dec. 1 by going to www.cancer.org/acrucialcatch, search for Fort Mill High School.