October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everywhere you go, you see the infamous pink ribbon, or stores, cars, and classrooms decorated in pink. Even the sports world gets in on it. During the month, players will don pink wrist bands, socks, cleats, tape, eye black, and anything else they can make pink. Teams will even add pink outlines to their uniforms, while the referees in the NFL use pink penalty flags.
University of Massachusetts Boston Athletics are no different. Women’s Soccer held their annual “Think Pink” game; they wore pink warm-up shirts before games. Many other student-athletes can be seen wearing pink attire to show their support.
Earlier this month, on Oct. 6, several members of the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey and Cross-Country teams braved the cold and rainy elements to volunteer at the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk along the Charles River on Storrow Drive. There, the student-athletes assisted in setting up water stations, handing out refreshments, and cheering on walkers set to complete the five-mile walk.
From 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., the Beacon volunteers worked tirelessly to help event organizers set up water stations at various points along the waterfront. Once that was done, the volunteers cheered on and handed out water to the walkers. There were countless numbers of walkers decked out in pink to show their support as well as many, many women wearing shawls that said “survivor” on the front. There were even a few walkers who were currently battling cancer. Some, sadly, carried pictures of loved ones who lost their battle with breast cancer.
The only real downside of the day were the cold temperatures, which caused a few volunteers to lose feeling in their fingers, but they knew the struggle was nothing compared to what cancer patients go through.
Women’s Hockey forward Kayle Kiernan said, “sometimes it’s not all about hockey, but rather helping the community in all ways possible and giving back to the city that helps us come together as a team.” She added “We are all grateful for the opportunities to give back such as the Breast Cancer Walk where we could support those who have lost loved ones. It’s very important to show our support and we all are happy to help.”
When the day was done, the teams helped pack up the tables and water before heading home. The volunteers either walked back or crammed into a van and were driven back to the starting point where they rejoined their coaches and returned to campus.
Despite the harsh conditions and having to wake up early on a Sunday, Beacons athletics were happy to assist with a great cause. Men’s Hockey goalie Zach Andrews said it best: “our team was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help out for a great cause.” He added, “it was awesome being with the whole team and sharing that experience with each other… It was very humbling understanding what some of these people went through.
Making Strides benefits the American Cancer Society. For more information or to make a donation, please visit http://www.cancer.org/.