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Bearkats 'Think Pink,' Fight Back

Oct. 12, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Sara Thompson

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Members of Zeta Tau Alpha women's fraternity hold T-shirts that the organization has sold at SHSU over the past five years to raise funds for their national philanthropy, breast cancer awareness and education. — Photos by Brian Blalock

On a busy afternoon, Cassondra Vickers proudly wears her “I Think Pink for my Grandma” T-shirt as she briefly blocks foot traffic to tie a large pink ribbon around a light pole on the Sam Houston State University campus.

The granddaughter of a 12-year breast cancer survivor, it’s a fulfilling moment for the SHSU senior who is doing something she often dreams about as she watches her grandmother battle breast cancer year after year.

This month, she’s fighting back with her.

Throughout October, Vickers and her Zeta Tau Alpha sisters can be spotted all over campus carrying armfuls of pink ribbons, shirts and other goodies in preparation for their signature Kats For The Cause/Think Pink Week Oct. 24-29.

Kats For The Cause began in 2007 when several campus groups came together with the SHSU Department of Athletics to sponsor a “Pink Out” football game in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A committee was formed with representatives from across the university, and several activities took place during the month with the football game as the featured event.

One of the groups represented was Zeta Tau Alpha, whose national philanthropy is breast cancer awareness and education. Earlier that year, a member’s mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Encouraged by her brother’s baseball team at another Texas university, whose players had shaved their heads to honor her mother’s fight through chemotherapy, the Zeta and other members of the organization reached out to the athletics department in hopes of raising awareness for the disease at SHSU.

Five years later, Kats for the Cause has become a tradition at SHSU and is still providing opportunities for the community to learn about the prevention, detection and treatment options for breast cancer.

This year, with the other campus groups who were originally a part of the Kats For The Cause event now planning additional activities throughout the year to educate the university and community about other types of cancer, Zeta Tau Alpha is leading the charge to promote breast cancer awareness and education, as well as raise funds for programming and research through its sale of T-shirts. They also have a mission—a complete “pink out” of both the SHSU and Huntsville communities to boost awareness more than ever before.

The members of this women’s fraternity realize that for the millions affected by breast cancer, “pink isn’t just a color—it’s a symbol.”

“The color pink represents the diagnoses, the battles, the losses and the victories, but most importantly it symbolizes finding a cure for this silent killer,” said Hilary Craft, Zeta Tau Alpha vice president and coordinator of the event.

Rather than battle it quietly, the ZTAs are joining forces with SHSU and several community sponsors to “ask for all Bearkats and Huntsville residents to come out and help fight for the cure” during the week.

“This year we have added a lot more fun to the mix, and we are more dedicated than ever to getting campus-wide involvement,” said Craft.

Bearkats can even “pink out” early this year. During the entire month of October, members of Zeta Tau Alpha are selling “Kats for the Cause” T-shirts in an assortment of designs for $10 each in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

“You don’t have to know a breast cancer victim personally to see the toll it has taken on our families as well as our society,” Craft said. “That is why we encourage everyone to come out and help make a difference.”

The 2011 Think Pink Week’s events are both on-campus and at local businesses in the Huntsville community. All the proceeds will go directly for breast cancer awareness and education.

On Monday (Oct. 24) Think Pink Week’s kick off will feature victims of breast cancer sharing their experiences during “Speaking with Survivors” at 5 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

The festivities will continue during “Spooning with ZTAs” at Three Spoons Yogurt from 8-10 p.m. where 25 percent of all proceeds will go towards the cause.

The philanthropic spirit will continue to spread through the Huntsville community Tuesday (Oct. 25) during “BBQ for Breast Cancer Awareness” at McKenzie’s Barbeque from 3-8 p.m. where 25 percent of all proceeds will be donated.

Wednesday (Oct. 26) Bearkats are invited to a night of fun and “celebrating hope” during the pink-themed campus-wide movie night from 7:30-10:30 p.m. at Bowers Stadium, where “The Blind Side” will be shown with free admission.

On Saturday (Oct. 29) the ladies of ZTA will take their “fight for a cure” to the football field for the 5th annual Kats for the Cause “Pink Out” game.

Game-day festivities kick off at noon, with a tailgate in Bearkat Alley. Here, Bearkat fans can pick up a pink ribbon to show their support for the cause and take part in other “Think Pink” tailgating activities.

At 2 p.m. the SHSU football team will show their support by sporting the color during their game against Lamar. Fans are also encouraged to wear the event’s T-shirt in order to “pink out” Bowers stadium.

According to the ladies of ZTA, it’s going to be a week of “fun for a great cause.”

“I encourage everyone to participate in Think Pink Week because it gives you a feeling of being a part of something bigger than yourself—something that could one day change the lives of millions,” Vickers said.

Sponsors of Think Pink Week 2011 and Kats for the Cause “Pink Out” football game include KSAM/KHVL Radio, Sam Houston Cancer Center, PromoWorld, McKenzie’s Barbeque, and University Cancer Center.

In addition to Think Pink Week, members of Zeta Tau Alpha volunteer their time to support other programs that raise money for the cause such as Yoplait’s “Save Lids to Save Lives” campaign, NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” program and Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

To purchase tickets for the “Pink Out” game (SHSU vs. Lamar) log on to gobearkats.com or contact the SHSU Athletics Office at 936.294.1729.

Additional information on Think Pink Week can be found at the event’s Facebook page at Zeta Tau Alpha's THINK PINK! Week 2011 at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=194838603918150.

 

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