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Pink Zone fundraiser exceeds goal

Nora Kenney | Monday, February 15, 2010

It seems that even the Notre Dame women’s basketball team celebrated Valentine’s Day — and not just by playing with a lot of heart. As DePaul took to the court yesterday, it was met by an Irish team clad not in their traditional blue and gold, but in light pink. 

Yesterday’s matchup was the second annual Pink Zone game, which raises money for breast cancer research and awareness.

Fans gathered in the Purcell Pavilion for the sold-out game were loud, excited and clad in pink as well. The Band and cheerleaders also followed suit, wearing pink shirts that said “Fighting Irish Fighting Cancer”. 

During halftime, more than 100 breast cancer survivors from the South Bend community proceeded onto the court before a crowd that was at first hushed in silence, then moved to a standing ovation. 

Donna Ancil is from South Bend and has been a survivor of breast cancer for eight years. As she lined up to walk on to the court with her fellow survivors, she acknowledged the powerful emotions that emerged during the Pink Zone game.

“It’s empowering to be here,” she said. “It’s the local community coming together and being excited, and we know the basketball players are so supportive about all of this.”

Molly Duman Scheel, a medical student at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Notre Dame biology professor, is also involved in the fight against breast cancer. She studies Medical and Molecular Genetics, specifically the genetics of metastasis in a Raclin-Carmichael Hall laboratory.

Like Ancil, she was excited to see the community come together and also excited that the Pink Zone game acknowledged both support and research in the fight against breast cancer. 

“It’s a nice event and brings together cancer researchers with cancer survivors and it’s a good way to raise money that will benefit people in our area,” Duman Scheel said.

Like University President Fr. John Jenkins, who spoke during the game, Duman Scheel is enthusiastic about the recent addition to Raclin-Carmichael Hall, the Harper Cancer Research Institute. 

The many groups that came together for the Pink Zone game included Fannie Mae, which sold chocolates to raise money, as well as the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, which sold pink pom-poms and gave away pink flashlights. Representatives from the Women’s Task Force of Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, the Secret Sisters Society, RiverBend Cancer Services and Young Survivors Breast Cancer Support Group were also in attendance. 

Pink Zone exceeded its goal of raising $55,000 by more than $15,000 for a total of more than $70,000, as announced at the end of the game. The Irish defeated DePaul 90-66.