By Chantal Meacham
Across the nation, Coaches vs. Cancer has partnered with the American Cancer Society to help raise money and promote awareness for cancer. It started when Jim Valvano, a former men’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University, was diagnosed with cancer. Many college teams began raising money to support this fund and over the years, high schools began to do the same. Teams pick out a game during their season and donate most or all of their profits to finding a cure for cancer. “Coaches vs. Cancer has raised nearly $50 million since its inception to support the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a life-threatening disease. Additionally, more than 100 high school coaches also participate in the program” (http://www.cancer.org/Involved/Participate/CoachesvsCancer/about-coaches-vs-cancer ).
The Centennial Girls Basketball team has participated in this event for 5 years. Their coach, Susan Thomas, said, “I had an interest to do something with my team that was more service oriented. Later on, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 so it became much more personal. It’s a great way for our basketball team to draw attention to a need in our community.” From 2008-2009 Centennial raised $2,792.00; in 2010 they raised $1,490.00; and last year they raised $1200.00. Centennial played Rich South on January 28th and raised a total of $750.00. The girls sold pink beads and raffle tickets during school and at the boys basketball game the night before to raise money. The girls dressed up by wearing pink socks, headbands, bows, and shooting shirts to help promote this event. Thomas said her favorite part of the event was “seeing the gym and players all decked out in pink. It was a unifying theme no matter who you were there to support. Everybody who was there all has the same feeling about it.” The Junior Varsity team won their game, but the Varsity team lost by two points. Although it wasn’t a win in the book for the varsity team, they made an impact in other ways. The team they played was inspired to do their own Coaches vs. Cancer event next season after being involved in Centennial’s. The girls team is not only raising money but influencing other schools to do the same.