Lady Wolves, Wildcats team up for Dig Pink Night

Saturday, October 2, 2010 1:52 PM CDT
BY Kevin Hageland khageland@acnpapers.com

PLANO - Friday night was an important one for the Plano Senior and Plano West volleyball teams.

And not just because their intra-city match was the end of the first half of district play and would go a long way to determining their respective spots in the 8-5A playoff picture, but also because of the money the Lady Wildcats and Lady Wolves raised.

The money was raised as part of Dig Pink Night, a charitable endeavor aimed at collecting donations that would go to fund breast cancer research and awareness through the Side-Out Foundation. The Side-Out Foundation was formed in 2004 and has raised more than $1 million since that time.

Having the event Friday, Oct. 1, made sense since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“A lot of teams do Dig Pink at the club and college level,” said Jennifer Cron, Plano head coach. “The charity started several years ago with one person and then just grew from there.”

Having previously participated in the Habitat for Humanity Women Build, Cron has kept her team consistently active in the community.

“We are always looking for a charitable cause for the team to take part in because we want our kids to be aware and help people,” she said. “We want them to be a part of selfless acts; not just raising money, but also putting in time and effort.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Cron’s coaching counterpart on Dig Pink Night.

“There is always something we can do in our everyday lives to help someone,” said Brittany Bridge, West head coach.

Getting involved with a breast cancer charity seemed like a logical choice.

“Since this is volleyball and these are girls, breast cancer is something they will all need to get tested for throughout their life and it just made sense,” Bridge said. “Growing up we want them to be aware of how to take care of their body.”

In previous years, teams participating in Dig Pink Night could wear special pink jerseys to commemorate the occasion. But with the UIL rule passed this past spring that banned such specialized jerseys, Plano and West had to go a different route. The Lady Wildcats and Lady Wolves determined t-shirts were the way to go with each team forgoing its usual warm-up shirt for Dig Pink gear. The shirts were also worn by some of the players during Friday’s school day to raise awareness for the match, the charity and the cause.

A receptacle was passed around during the match to collect money for the cause.

“One of the nice things about this charity is we know the money is going to the right place,” Cron said. “And obviously it’s a good cause because everyone knows someone with cancer.”

That message hits particularly close to home for Bridge, whose father Kelly was diagnosed with kidney cancer in January.

“The cancer has spread since then,” Bridge said. “I’ve been watching him having to go through chemotherapy and watching all the stuff my mom has had to go through and it’s tough because there aren’t a lot of answers.”

The outpouring of support for Mr. Bridge has been evident to the West coach as her father is a key figure in the volleyball community.

“My dad used to be a volleyball ref,” Bridge said, “so a lot of the referees for our matches know my dad and have expressed their well wishes.”

There is even discussion of naming a volleyball tournament for Mr. Bridge in Houston. That tournament could serve as a conduit to raise money and awareness for cancer research. But before that comes to pass, Bridge has a chance to aide in the cause along with the help of Cron, the Lady Wolves, the Lady Wildcats and fans of Plano ISD volleyball.

“We got involved with Dig Pink last year,” Bridge said. “And while I know my dad doesn’t have breast cancer, I feel like I am coming full circle this year because I have seen someone I love go through a battle with cancer.”

The Lady Wolves won Friday night’s match in four sets, but the real winners were the beneficiaries of the money raised by the Plano and West volleyball teams.

For more information on the cause, go to: side-out.org or visit: planovolleyball.org to donate specifically to the Lady Wildcats goal for the foundation.

West tennis continues cancer fundraising

Dig Pink Night wasn’t the only event raising money and awareness for cancer research over the weekend as the West tennis team continued its partnership with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

The Wolves started this cause in support of team member Parker Cohen, whose father Ron had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Mr. Cohen died on July 3, but West has continued the cause by wearing purple socks and filling the stands with purple clad fans during certain matches.

The latest match took place Saturday afternoon when West hosted Highland Park (results not available at press time)




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