Lady Rattlers ball for cancer cure

Forget the green and gold – the FAMU Lady Rattlers want you in the Gaither Gym stands wearing pink this Saturday. The team will kick off its annual “Pink-Out for Breast Cancer” – a series of home basketball games designed to raise awareness and money to support the efforts in finding a cure.

Radio stations 90.5 WANM-FM and 96.1 WHBX-FM will be there to promote the event, which begins at 2 p.m. There will be prizes, giveaways, presentations, games and pink spirit competitions.

The idea for the event was formulated by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Debra Clark, the coach of the Lady Rattler’s basketball team, said the idea was a good one because it hits close to home. The proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

“The organization felt that it was a good idea for us as women athletes to promote the awareness of breast cancer,” Clark said. “So we are dedicating two weeks out of the month of February to raise the awareness of breast cancer. It wasn’t until this event was mentioned to other areas in the athletics department that I realized that so many coaches’ family members are survivors of breast cancer.”

John Clark, the assistant women’s basketball coach, said he has been affected by breast cancer through people who were close to him.

Clark lost his grandmother and his best friend to the disease.

“I lost my best friend from college in 2003,” John said. “She had breast cancer, and she fought it for years. I even lost my grandmother to it in ’74…didn’t know what it was then.”

Clark said he hopes this event is successful in making people more knowledgeable about the disease.

Joslyne Jackson, a senior shooting guard, said people should realize how important raising awareness for breast cancer is – not just women, but men as well.

“It’s been some cases where males have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so that is why it is important for everyone to be aware,” she said.

Jackson said the event is a great opportunity for the team to raise campus awareness.

“I hope it brings a lot of fans and young women out to the game,” she said. “It’s a very positive event and it will encourage and reassure people who might have the disease or who may be affected by the disease later in life that they can get through this.”

The Pink-Out for Breast Cancer events will take place through the next four home games. Those dates are Feb. 9, Feb. 11, Feb. 16 and Feb. 18. The pink mustang, a symbol for breast cancer, will also be on display.