By Susan Tebben
The crowds always are excited to wear team colors and cheer on a basketball game. But beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at Austintown Fitch High School, both teams’ colors will be pink.
“The big thing for the students is to get their friends and family to come to the game,” said Fitch girls’ basketball head coach, Stacie Cepin. “Each year I want this to get bigger and better.”
Thursday’s game against Poland marks the fourth “Think Pink” game, a game that was inspired by Cepin’s college basketball days, when she learned about the late Kay Yow.
Yow was a former North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, according to the website for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Cepin was playing N.C. State with her Clemson teammates when she heard about Yow and cancer awareness inspired by her.
Throughout the years, the Think Pink game has raised money for the Susan Komen Foundation and for Yow’s cancer fund. In the first year, the game raised about $1,000 for charity and has continued to increase through the years.
“The students sold T-shirts and the students section gets bigger every year,” Cepin said. “It’s a game when everybody’s on the same team.”
Proceeds from the game this year will be going to a local cause, something Cepin said was an important goal. The money will be turned over to the new Joannie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center in Youngstown.
Parents from Poland schools helped donate baskets for an auction included in the fundraising. New this year as well, Austintown Middle School’s basketball team had its own breast cancer-awareness game, which raised almost $250, Cepin said.