Pink Zone raises more than $200,000 to fight cancer

Author: Gene Stowe

The annual Notre Dame drive for the cancer-fighting Pink Zone raised more than $200,000 this year, an increase of more than $75,000 from last year and four times the amount just four years ago.

A cross-campus committee of some 25 people started working in September on a collection of events, including a rare collaboration of the women’s basketball team, the College of Science and the Knollwood Country Club, says organizer Stephanie Menio, operations and marketing specialist for the basketball team.

“We start with T-shirt sales in early December, which is a huge part of raising money,” Menio says. “Our fans love those T-shirts.”

The kickoff sale raised $30,000. Other promotions included:

Spin-A-Thons

This year, for the second time, Knollwood hosted a 24-hour stationary bike spin. Last year’s event raised $30,000, so promoters added a second 24-hour spin at the the Rockne Memorial on campus and raised a total of $53,000. Greg Crawford, dean of science, rode for 24 hours straight, and Menio rode for a total of 24 hours between the two locations.

Game Day

A silent auction before the Pink Zone game on Feb. 12 raised more than $20,000. The Pink Zone Luncheon, “Docs in Pink,” raised more than $15,000 while honoring doctors, researchers and cancer fighters. A collection in the stands raised more than $7,000.

The game’s halftime show, with about 100 breast cancer survivors on the court, included Cathy Richardson singing “Here Come the Irish” and Tim Stop performing “With All Your Heart (Believe)” from the movie “Two Miles from Home,” about the deadly Notre Dame swim team bus crash 20 years ago. Haley Scott DeMaria, who survived the crash and returned to competitive swimming after a week of paralysis, attended with her mother, a breast cancer survivor.

Corporate and individual donations

Lake Michigan Mailers raised $3,000 from an appeal e-mailed to its clients. Fannie May donated 7,000 chocolate bars for sale, and buttons were for sale for $1. The Catholic grade-school daughter of a committee member sold memory cards.

“There are so many different levels of commitment,” Menio says. “It’s phenomenal. We have our big events, but it’s one of those things where every dollar counts.”

The bulk of the donations, $111,000, goes to the Foundation of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center. “They are providing the mammograms and they are providing the awareness and the support,” Menio says.

The total includes $56,500 for summer undergraduate cancer research internships through the College of Science. “That’s part of finding the cure,” Menio says.

Another $37,000 goes to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Yow, a former N.C. State University basketball coach, inspired the Pink Zone initiative after her third diagnosis of breast cancer in 2006. The national program raised more than $650,000 last year.

This year, organizers have added a summer golf outing at Knollwood Country Club to keep raising awareness and money for Pink Zone.

“It just works,” Menio says. “You have three passionate entities (women’s basketball, the College of Science and Knollwood Country Club) coming together to fight for the cause. It’s outstanding. Every year, we say ‘how are we going to beat last year?’ and we do. It kind of comes together.”