By: Matt Merkel
Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Lady Baron Volleyball team hosted their fourth annual Dig Pink fundraiser to raise awareness for breast cancer on October 6. The Dig Pink event was held during the Lady Barons match against the Chatham University Cougars.
“We did this for the first time four years ago because at that time, all of our girls on the team knew someone that was affect by breast cancer,” head volleyball coach Kelly Herrmann said during an announcement before the game.
The Lady Barons beat the Cougars three games to one, but that was low priority compared to the effect the Lady Barons had on their community. Herrmann talked about how important this event was to the team and the community.
“It’s an event that really touches all of us,” said Herrmann. “The fact that we could have it on homecoming weekend was great. It was amazing to play in front of such a large crowd.”
The match drew over 1,000 people in foot traffic during the University’s busy homecoming weekend, and the Lady Barons raised more than $500 after raffling a variety of prizes. Prizes included gift cards for restaurants, hotel stays and online merchants.
Donations were also accepted. All of the money was split between the Side-Out Foundation for breast cancer awareness and the T.E.A.R Fund. The Side-Out Foundation helps organize Dig Pink events all over the country, while the T.E.A.R Fund helps residents in Steubenville deal with the financial strain of breast cancer.
The Lady Barons had a special honorary coach during the game, two-time breast cancer survivor Marlene Nese. She was first diagnosed in 1996, and then again in 2009. Nese hoped that the Dig Pink fundraiser would not only raise awareness about breast cancer, but more importantly, would raise prevention awareness.
“You want the awareness; you want to get the word out about breast cancer,” Nese said. “But prevention is how you create survivors. You have to catch the cancer early; if you can catch it in stage one, it is easier to cure.”
Nese spends a lot of time helping other women fight what she overcame. She does volunteer work at the Teramana Cancer Center. Teramana does screening and tests for patients currently struggling with breast cancer. The center also does mammograms for patients so that they can treat and prevent breast cancer before it becomes a terrible priority in somebody’s life.
Nese is also part of a support group for breast cancer survivors and tries to pass her knowledge and support to others that went through the same trials as she did. Nese said that the hardest part of having cancer is the uncertainty
“It’s a scary feeling because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” Nese said.
Faith was very important to Nese and it was the greatest contribution to her victory of breast cancer.
“You have to have faith in God that he is going to get you through,” Nese said. “And no matter what, you need to smile and have a positive attitude.”
Franciscan University has a special place in Nese’s heart. She met her husband on campus in 1956.
Nese was incredibly proud of the Lady Barons for raising necessary money for a cause so important to her. FUS looks to take the momentum from this emotional win to prepare for a home game against Mt. Aloysius College on October 10 at 7 p.m.