Cancer benefit to hit field

The University’s women’s softball game Tuesday will not be just a fight for first place in the MEAC standings, but also fight for a cause and a cure.

FAMU’s women’s softball team will have its annual Cancer Awareness Day at the Lady Rattler Softball Complex Tuesday.

The Lady Rattlers will host Bethune-Cookman College at 2 p.m. and will present the American Cancer Society with a check during the game.

For the past 10 days, the Lady Rattlers have been selling orange paper softballs and pink bracelets, that read “Sharing the Promise,” for $1 to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

The Lady Rattlers reached their goal of raising $500 last year. This year they hope to exceed that amount.

The money that the team raises will go toward cancer research and other philanthropic efforts of the American Cancer Society.

W. Earl Kitchins, FAMU’s director of athletic marketing, said his job for the event was to assist the softball team in their efforts to raise money.

“Community service is a natural part of athletics that most people don’t see,” Kitchins said.

Kitchins also said the B-CC game was chosen for Cancer Awareness Day because the game tends to draw a larger crowd.

For FAMU softball Head Coach Veronica Wiggins, cancer is a disease in which she has become very familiar. Her father passed away because of cancer and her mother is living with the disease.

“I believe that this event is important because the more awareness about a disease, the more prevention there can be.”

Wiggins said she is hoping for a full house at Tuesday’s game because the team will be asking for additional donations after the game.

Michael Magnuson, community representative for the American Cancer Society in Tallahassee, said Cancer Awareness Day and events such as Relay for Life – an 18-hour walk-a-thon fund-raiser for cancer research that took place on FAMU’s campus March 18 and 19 – are activities the American Cancer Society sponsors to raise awareness with Tallahassee’s student population.

“We want students to know that cancer is not just an old person’s disease – it affects everybody.”

Magnuson said fewer blacks are affected with cancer than whites, but blacks have a higher fatality rate.

Magnuson added that he believes cancer is detected later in blacks for two reasons. One is that blacks might not have access to health care. The second is blacks are not aware of the disease or are afraid to get tested for cancer.

Maganuson believes if young people and students have more knowledge about cancer, they will discuss the issue with their parents, grandparents and other family members.

“It is important because we need to find a cure that will benefit someone out there that needs help,” said Eria Williams, a senior business student from Lakeland, who plays left field for the Lady Rattlers.

Williams said the orange paper softballs that people are purchasing will be posted up throughout the softball diamond.

“If it’s one life we can save, then it’s one life the better,” Williams said.

Contact Ricquel Lewis at