Women’s tea raises cancer awareness

The Lady Rattlers continued to raise breast cancer awareness Monday with a tea party that also served to recognize women’s athletics. More than 80 people attended the athletic department’s “Think Pink” event.

The tea party took place in the Grand Ballroom and was decorated with pink heart confetti and pink carnations.

“Think Pink” is an initiative created by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to raise breast cancer awareness on and off the court. It began in 2007 with more than 100 schools participating.

Marlynn Jones, the senior women’s administrator and associate director of athletics, opened the banquet with a speech on outstanding women in sports history.

Following Jones was Miasha Mitchell, an American Cancer Society volunteer, who spoke the importance of early breast cancer detection.

“One of the areas that have us at a potential risk is that we’re not talking enough; we’re not sharing the information,” she said. “And so by the time we get to have diagnosis it’s very late, so early detection is one of the things that is of utmost importance.”

Mitchell’s speech raised eyebrows when she mentioned that it was possible for men to get breast cancer as well.

Freshman distance runner Nicola Lithrop said she was surprised to find out men can contract breast cancer.

“I really thought it was only females, and even though it’s a small number it’s good to know that males get it and they should be aware,” said Lithrop, 18, a business student from Riverbeach.

Following her speech came the introduction of all FAMU’s women athletes. The head coaches of the women’s sports called presented gifts to their players. Jones recognized the team GPAs as well as the players with the highest GPAs.

“The main thing we wanted to do is to recognize the female student athletes and their coaching staffs and give them some recognition for the job that they do,” Jones said. “We also wanted to recognize those who have high a GPA because they are student athletes.”

Recognition wasn’t reserved only for the student athletes. Among the coaches recognized were women’s tennis coach Rochelle Goldthreate and Olympic medalist and track coach Maicel Malone.

After that came a special presentation by Athletic Director William L. Hayes. He honored every athlete for her participation and thanked Jones and the entire staff for putting on the event. Hayes said believes the tea party was a fantastic idea.

“We need to keep trying to teach and educate young people and people in the community,” Hayes said.

The 2008 “Think Pink” initiative has brought together more than 600 women’s basketball teams.