UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Lady Lion basketball team continued their fight against breast cancer in record-breaking style as the 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State saw the Lady Lions donate $260,000 to six breast cancer charities.
The funds raised by the 2013 Pink Zone at Penn State were donated to charities on the local, state and national level and included Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. In seven Pink Zone annual events, the Lady Lions have now donated $825,317.73 to various breast cancer charities.
"Pink Zone continues to grow and be of tremendous impact to our community," Lady Lion Basketball head coach Coquese Washington said. "It's wonderful that our fans support our program and this cause in such significant fashion."
"Words really cannot describe the feeling we had this year when we realized we had surpassed our fundraising goal," Pink Zone at Penn State Executive Director Miriam Powell said. "Last year we had hoped to raise $250,000 but fell short in the end with a net total of $203,000. This ignited the spark to make 2013 a monumental effort and we did it. I am amazed and grateful for our small army of dedicated volunteers -- especially Mimi Coppersmith and Joel Diamond who co-chair our fundraising committee, our incredibly generous community and our wonderful Pink Zone beneficiaries. We all worked together for this great cause. This is tremendous evidence of Penn State's 'One Team' philosophy."
The Lady Lions' 2013 Pink Zone game received an additional $90,000 from in-kind donors from many local and regional businesses, including Fullington Trailways, Bailey Coach, Beiber Bus Company, Susquehanna Trailways, Centre Daily Times, Chip Mock, Blue Banana Designs, Ricoh, Comcast, WTAJ, Forever Broadcasting, 93.5 3WZ, B94.5, the Bryce Jordan Center, Best Event Rental and Weis Markets.
The Lady Lions welcomed a record 621 breast cancer survivors and a Pink Zone record 14,713 fans to the Bryce Jordan Center as Penn State took on Michigan on Feb. 24, 2013. The Lions topped the Wolverines, 68-57, and clinched a share of their second consecutive Big Ten regular-season title in front of the fourth-largest crowd in BJC history as they honored breast cancer survivors and generated awareness for the fight against breast cancer. Additionally, the Lady Lions were selected as the Play 4Kay Division I winner for their efforts in raising funds and awareness for breast cancer.
After using previous Pink Zone funding to open the "Penn State Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center" at Mount Nittany Medical Center's Shaner Cancer Pavilion and to purchase a breast specimen imager, Mount Nittany will use this year's Pink Zone monies to fund a five-year position for a breast health navigator. A registered nurse who can lead efforts for breast health navigation, education and outreach will fill this position. A breast health navigator is someone who can help remove the many barriers patients may experience in receiving timely and well-coordinated care. The purpose of this position is to decrease fragmentation of care, coordinate services and guide patients seeking breast care through the health care system. This will allow for continuity of care and reassurance to the patient as they walk through the entire diagnosis and treatment process on their journey to survivorship.
"We are incredibly humbled and deeply grateful to receive such a tremendous gift from the Pennsylvania Pink Zone," Steve Brown, FACHE, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health. "At Mount Nittany Health, we are here simply to help people get healthier, and because of the Pink Zone's continued support, we are able to do just that. I want to personally thank the Pink Zone for their generosity and for being a beacon of hope for those impacted by breast cancer in our community."
Through past Pink Zone at Penn State funds, the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute activated the Lady Lion Basketball Breast Cancer Research Endowment. The monies from this year's Pink Zone at Penn State will continue to grow the endowment level of the Lady Lion Basketball Breast Cancer Research Endowment. This year's funding will support the research of Drs. El-Bayoumy, Manni and Vanden Heuvel, who are testing breast cancer prevention by combining lower doses of antiestrogens with a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Past Pink Zone at Penn State funds have been used to support Dr. Maria Baker's Cancer Genetics Program. Baker's program provides individuals with information based on their family history and/or genetic testing results to help in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.
"We are proud to be a designated beneficiary of the Pink Zone 2013," said Thomas P. Loughran, Jr., professor of medicine and director, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. "In these times of drastically reduced federal funding for research, philanthropic funds provided by the Pink Zone are essential for continuing groundbreaking research in breast cancer such as that being done at the Cancer Institute."
The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition will continue to use funding from Pink Zone to maintain a special pink wrap on the organization's van that is used as a mobile billboard for breast cancer awareness as they travel the state supporting the needs of women facing breast cancer. Pink Zone money will also be used by PBCC to provide scholarships for breast cancer survivors who wish to attend the PBCC Annual Conference in October. With the help of Pink Zone, PBCC hopes to offer at least 50 grants this year to individuals who otherwise would not be able to afford to attend this informative session in Harrisburg.
"Pink Zone continues to be an incredible, empowering and inspiring event for survivors in Pennsylvania," said PA Breast Cancer Coalition President and Founder Pat Halpin-Murphy. "This event helps to make the PBCC's programs and services possible. We are so fortunate to partner with Penn State on our journey to find a cure for breast cancer now ... so our daughters won't have to. Thank you, Pink Zone!"
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which is named for former N.C. State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. The Kay Yow Fund awards a $50,000 to $100,000 research grant to fund a cancer research project at a Cancer Center in the host city of that year's NCAA Women's Final Four in conjunction with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Convention. In addition to supporting research, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund will use Pink Zone at Penn State funds to assist in purchasing equipment for a mobile digital mammography unit that provides hundreds of screenings for underinsured and uninsured women.
"What Penn State does with its Pink Zone in honor of all of the beneficiaries is exactly what Kay Yow had in mind," Sue Donohoe, Kay Yow Cancer Fund executive director, said. "She wanted coaches and schools to bring their fans and communities together for a common cause, and Penn State's Pink Zone is truly a fulfillment of Kay's vision. I was lucky enough to be at this year's Penn State event and to walk into the Bryce Jordan Center and see that picture of pink was just remarkable. The number of donors, fans and survivors in attendance and then the inspirational halftime performance was just amazing."
The survivor post-game reception.
J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital will use funds raised through Pink Zone at Penn State to support a breast health coordinator. The breast health coordinator would be responsible for coordinating education and outreach with the rural women of Huntingdon County and their health care providers to promote breast health screening for the earliest possible detection of breast cancer. The addition of this position would allow J.C. Blair to continue to engage the community and promote the importance of mammography screenings for uninsured and underinsured women in their area.
"J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital is honored to be a beneficiary of the Pennsylvania Pink Zone and grateful for the generous contribution," said Lisa Mallon, president and CEO of J.C. Blair Health System. "We will use the funds to continue to enhance our breast health programs for the rural women of Huntingdon County and surrounding communities with the hope of detecting breast cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages. Until we can find a cure, this is the next best thing we can do."
Lewistown Hospital also will utilize Pink Zone funding to purchase a tetherless vacuum-assisted biopsy system to help improve diagnostic care to patients in the breast care center at the hospital. This device allows for a larger tissue sample size that results in a more reliable diagnosis. Patient benefits include a more comfortable testing procedure, less time, and a better sample than other tests used.
In addition to purchasing updated equipment, Lewistown will also use Pink Zone funds to once again host a Women's Wellness Day, which is a workshop that focuses on breast cancer prevention and the latest diagnostic and treatment options. Money will also be used to facilitate mammography screenings to medically underserved individuals in the Lewistown area. Finally, Lewistown will offer a Living Well Cancer Survivorship Program that will help cancer survivors attend to physical, social, emotional, and psychological complexities they may encounter as a result of their illness and treatment as they transition back to the normalcy of life.
"This has been another very successful year in which Lewistown Hospital not only participated in the Pink Zone's gala fund raising event for breast cancer but we also, as a beneficiary, will be able to benefit from some of the proceeds that we will use this year to buy a breast ultrasound device for our breast care center as well as to pay for education programs for our Women's Wellness Program," said Kay Hamilton, president and CEO at Lewistown Hospital. "We are very excited to have been a part of the Pink Zone campaign again this year and to see these monies used locally."
The Lady Lions express special thanks to the following primary sponsors for their strong support of the 2013 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State: Mount Nittany Medical Center, Kish Bank, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Lance and Ellen Shaner, Jeanne Arnold, Town & Gown, Penn State Bookstore, Penn State Athletics, the Tombros Foundation and John and Jeannette McWhirter of Copper Beech Townhome Communities.
For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State or to donate, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org. The 2014 Pink Zone at Penn State date will be announced when the Big Ten schedule is revealed in August.
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