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Spin-A-Thon to raise breast cancer awareness

| Friday, January 30, 2015

Spin-a-thon2Photo courtesy of RecSports
Students pedal away at the 2014 Spin-A-Thon. This year, the 24-hour event will feature a spin class and other activities.

From 12 p.m. today to 12 p.m. Saturday, students and members of the South Bend community will cycle at studios located at the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium and Knollwood Country Club in Granger to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer during the annual Pink Zone Spin-A-Thon.

Sharla Lewis, special events coordinator for the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, said the women’s basketball team, RecSports and College of Science co-host a Spin-A-Thon each year to support the Pink Zone initiative.

“The Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association began the Pink Zone initiative, formerly known as ‘Think Pink,’ in 2007 by challenging the top-20 women’s basketball programs to try to collect the most money for breast cancer research and treatment, while simultaneously bringing awareness to this deadly disease,” Lewis said. “It’s no longer a challenge among the top programs, but we continue to participate in the initiatives.”

Gregory Crawford, dean of the College of Science, said Notre Dame’s fundraisers are unique because a large portion of funds raised are used to support local cancer patients.

“We have raised more than $150,000 to help women in the community who cannot afford mammograms receive them,” Crawford said. “Fighting cancer is a large part of the College’s research effort, including the excellent work underway at the Harper Cancer Research Institute. While we are passionate about finding treatments and cures for cancer, we also fight cancer by helping people in our community this way.”

Lewis said 20 percent of donations are given to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The other 80 percent are given to Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center and River Bend Cancer Services.

“Our goal every year is to continue to raise breast cancer awareness on campus and in the community,” Lewis said. “Through our efforts, we are able to help someone that may not have the financial means to get the treatment and support they need.”

Tabbitha Ashford, fitness and instruction coordinator for RecSports, said the objective for this year’s event is to fill all 20 bikes in the cycling studio at the Rockne Memorial Gymnasium for all 24 hours of the event.

“The more people we get to come out, the more money and support we raise for breast cancer,” Ashford said. “Ideally, for all 24 hours our entire studio will be full.”

Crawford said the participating groups’ fundraising goal for the event is $30,000.

“Through the event, we also hope to bring people together to focus on the needs of those in our own community,” he said.

For a $10 donation, participants in the Spin-A-Thon receive a t-shirt and water bottle. The event will provide participants with food and chances to win prizes. Participants can sign up and donate online or on the day of the event. Additionally, each hour of the event will feature a different theme.

“One hour might be an actual cycling class, while another might just consist of watching a movie or playing a game,” Ashford said. “It’s as intense and interactive as you want it to be.”

Ashford said the Spin-A-Thon is a great example of the Notre Dame community’s dedication to service to those in need.

“A lot of dorms or club sports teams sign up to cycle together,” Ashford said. “It’s awesome to see such a large turnout from our own student population.”

Crawford said the event is a good way for Notre Dame to connect with the greater South Bend community.

“The unity and commitment of our partners both on campus and beyond are an inspiration to everyone as we seek to solve problems and serve the well-being of others,” he said.

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About Katie Galioto

Katie, The Observer's former Managing Editor, is a senior majoring in political science, with minors in Business Economics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She's an ex-Walsh Hall resident who now lives off campus and hails from Chanhassen, Minnesota. Follow her on Twitter @katiegalioto.

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