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Pink Out Pep Rally held in celebration of upcoming Pink Zone game

by on February 28, 2013 11:40 AM

STATE COLLEGE — Celebration and inspiration were the themes on Thursday at Mount Nittany Medical Center as the community geared up for the 7th annual Pink Zone basketball game.

In honor of Sunday’s game, the medical center played host to a “Pink Out Pep Rally” to invite the public to meet the Lady Lions basketball coaching staff, celebrate fundraising successes and get excited for the upcoming game.

Attendees could purchase Pink Zone T-shirts and gear, pink ribbons and other merchandise, as well as enter raffles throughout the event, which was held at the Galen and Nancy Dreibelbis auditorium.

Debbie Linnes, chief operating officer of Mount Nittany Health, kicked off the event by saying it is “such an honor and privilege to be here today.”

Linnes said, on behalf of Mount Nittany Health, she wants to express a special thanks to all those involved with the Pink Zone and everyone in attendance at the pep rally. She said she’s grateful to the Pennsylvania Pink Zone for its dedication to breast cancer.

One in eight women are touched by breast cancer in the United States, Linnes said.

“We all probably have individuals within our lives that are personally touched,” she said, adding that she is a breast cancer survivor herself, and is here today “because of early detection.”

“Nationally we are making a difference in breast cancer,” she said, explaining that survival rates have improved.

“It’s all about early detection,” she said.

Linnes said to see the community come together “like this,” is both “unique” and a “blessing.”

More than $10,000 was raised by various departments at Mount Nittany Health for Pink Zone, Linnes said, as she invited staff members to the front of the room to be recognized.

Next, Aileen Galley, administrative director of the cancer program at Mount Nittany Medical Center, addressed the audience, and said she knows it “takes a lot of work to put Pink Zone together.”

The pep rally, she said, is about celebration and inspiration. When there are more than 600 survivors, plus more fans in the stands at the basketball game, all wearing pink, it’s hard not to be encouraged, she said.

“That is inspiration,” she said.

Galley then presented a Pink Zone slideshow, in which attendees were encouraged to “shine their lights,” which were miniature pink flashlights, during the show in honor of someone they know affected by breast cancer.

During the slideshow, the Nittany Lion, adorned in a Pink Zone shirt, made a surprise appearance, which garnered a lot of cheering and support.

Basketball coach Coquese Washington closed out the pep rally by saying every year the Pink Zone has grown.

She said what the Pink Zone committee, staff and volunteers do every day is amazing, including the fundraising efforts, energy and communication that all go into the Pink Zone event.

Today, Washington said, people are able to talk about breast cancer openly, without fear.

“It’s great to be a survivor,” she said. “You’re not alone.”

Washington said there is a whole network of support out there for breast cancer patients and survivors.

“Sunday is our day to celebrate,” she said.

Washington thanked the Pink Zone for partnering with the Lady Lions, and stressed the importance of the basketball team’s platform of wanting to further breast cancer awareness, education and treatment.

“Our Pink Zone … is unquestionably the best in the nation,” she said. “But it’s also great for our county.”

Washington said the Lady Lions are proud to support, now and in the future, and in any way possible, Pink Zone efforts.

“Penn State women’s basketball is here for you,” she said.

Pink Zone beneficiaries include: Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital.

According to Mount Nittany Health, donations from Pink Zone funded the new resource center located in the Lane and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

The Pennsylvania Pink Zone and Penn State Lady Lion Basketball are a unified force in the fight against breast cancer on the court, across campus and within communities. The Pennsylvania Pink Zone promotes cancer awareness and empowers survivors through year-round efforts to raise funds critical in supporting vital breast cancer organizations, charities and facilities that focus on breast cancer education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, according to the Pink Zone’s website. For more information visit www.pennsylvaniapinkzone.org.



Staff Writer at The Centre County Gazette
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