Competing for a cause
Yannis ShafiMercury Staff
UTD sports teams have come together to show their support for taking a stand against cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
The soccer and volleyball teams hosted games dedicated to patients of breast cancer and their fight against the disease. By incorporating this, their goal was to educate fans about the risks of breast cancer, as well as what can be done to contribute to finding the cure. 585 fans attended the volleyball games and the men’s and women’s soccer games dedicated towards raising awareness for cancer.
Amanda Dettmer, an accounting junior and a supporter of the soccer teams, is a student who has a family member affected by breast cancer. Her mother is battling stage IV metastatic breast cancer, meaning that the cancer has spread to other parts of her body. Dettmer said she has learned the importance of being there for her family and persevering when times are tough because of her mother’s battle with cancer.
“It affects a lot of people, not just the patients, but the families as well,” Dettmer said. “It’s something that I think about every single day.”
The American Cancer Society established October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985 to promote the fight against breast cancer. Professional sports teams show their support by wearing pink-colored gear during awareness games. College teams have followed the lead of the NFL and NBA and wear pink-colored gear to spread awareness at the university-level.
Sophomore basketball forward Lauren Wall said her father’s fight with pancreatic cancer motivates her to grow as a student athlete, both on and off the court.
“As a basketball player, you make the most out of what you’re doing that day,” Wall said. “My coaches are supportive of the situation and they are all there if I need them.”
For the past two years, the volleyball team sponsored a 7-year-old girl named Kaitlyn, who has been in remission with leukemia twice. Kaitlyn adopted the Comets as her team, and in return, she has received her own locker in the locker room as well as her own jersey. Kristyn Schott, a sophomore outside hitter for the volleyball team, said that even on the team’s worst games, they still keep in mind that they are playing for something bigger than themselves.
“To see someone that young and full of life is an awesome experience and really humbling,” Schott said. “It does give you an extra little boost or reminder about who to play for besides yourself.”
Dettmer, Schott and Wall said they appreciated the support from sports teams and student organizations that raised money for finding cures for cancer. While fundraising for cancer research primarily takes place in October, nonprofits across the DFW area continue to volunteer their efforts year-round.
“It makes you realize that other people care, even if they are not affected by it,” Wall said. “It’s a really good feeling knowing that people are out there trying to make changes.”