Breast cancer survivors honored at game

SVSU hosted its 11th annual Breast Cancer Survivor event on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 11 a.m.

Angela Pohl, the deputy athletic director, first created the event as a way for SVSU to reach out to the greater community.

“Under a previous athletic director, we worked together to build up an inventory of events that we could partner with businesses in the area for purposes of community engagement and bringing the community to campus to engage with our student-athletes and the athletic programs,” she said.

The idea for a breast cancer event began with the GLIAC’s Pink Wave initiative.

“(Pink Wave) was a week designated (by GLIAC) in the month of February to recognize and bring awareness to breast cancer,” she said. “We felt it was important to us to raise money for a breast cancer care fund in our region, for our people.”

SVSU was able to first host the event after an initial single gift from Carl Briggs, a State Farm agent. SVSU donates the money earned to a care fund that helps underinsured and uninsured community members pay for breast cancer screening.

To help raise funds, SVSU sells t-shirts and hosts raffles during the games. In the past, SVSU has raised over $32,811.

Pohl sees the event as a way to bring more community members on campus.

“We’re bringing people to campus that might otherwise not come to campus,” Pohl said. “We believe that to be significant.”

Pohl uses the event to get student-athletes more involved in their community.

“We think it is important that our student-athletes get an experience outside of the classroom, off the court, and have an opportunity to engage with these members of the community, but also participate in something that’s bigger than themselves,” she said.

This year, 51 community members registered for the event. Breast cancer survivors were given a breast cancer bag, t-shirt, pink beads and other gifts from SVSU and sponsors.

After the reception, survivors walked over to the game and sat near the Cardinal head tunnel. During halftime, the survivors lined up behind the bleachers near the Cardinal head by how many years they have been in remission.

The men’s basketball team escorted each breast cancer survivor onto the court and gave them a carnation. The rest of half time was dedicated to honoring the survivors.

Pohl’s favorite part of the event was seeing the breast cancer survivors have the chance to interact with each other and enjoy themselves.

“I also enjoy seeing them interact with their doctors and care providers in an environment that is celebratory,” she said. “I enjoy seeing them escorted out on the court and the sense of pride that you can see on their faces, and the community is celebrating them for their journey.”

Reporting from Kaitlyn Farley, Vanguard Editor-in-Chief

Kaitlyn Farley

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