Sea of Pink brought students and community members together to support cancer and their local high school football team.
On October 18, 2013, The Pink Out Movement took over the bleachers at the Sunlake High School Stadium in support of cancer awareness and the football team. The Land O’Lakes community; students, football and cheerleading teams, staff members, administration, and community members were there to support students, family, faculty and staff that have been affected by this disease. Staff and students wore as much pink as possible in support of cancer awareness. Football players and cheerleaders also wore pink in support of cancer during their game on Friday night.
Maura Craig, a Key Club Sponsor stated that, “This movement is really important because there are many students who are impacted by cancer, whether it is a family member or friend. In addition, cancer has become a growing epidemic and as educators it is our job to inform students of the issues that occur in the world and its effects. It also inspires students to ultimately become socially active members of society and seek change.” Craig shared how The Pink Out Movement began and she had this sparkle in her eyes as she shared the story of two strong individuals.
The Pink Out Movement began four years ago when Courtney Durbin and her twin sister Megan found out their mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. They knew they wanted to support her fight against the deadly disease, but were not sure how to go about it. At first, Courtney and Megan asked their friends to wear pink in support of cancer. From there they aimed to get more people aware and support fight against cancer each school year. “The girls were able to get a good majority of the student body to wear pink the second year. They were shocked at how many people had been impacted from cancer and it solidified why they wanted to keep The Pink Out Movement growing each year. The following year Courtney designed a Pink Out Shirt and sold it to the student body. We sold more than 200 shirts that year and the profits were donated to the American Cancer Society,” emphasized Craig. Thinking back, Craig stated, “The day of the school’s Pink Out Movement was also the day they won the MyFox Prep Rally of the Week. It was impressive to see the Sea of Pink at the football stadium. Not only was our school full of spirit that day at the pep rally, but also students represented a cause larger than themselves.”
After Courtney and Megan graduated two years ago, they took their passion and dedication to college and continued to do the Rollins Softball Pink Out Game. Craig continued The Pink Out Movement because she too has personally been impacted by cancer. She lost both of her grandparents to cancer and currently her best friend is fighting his battle against cancer. She also shared that she has students in her class with cancer. “I think that it is important to show my community that we support this cause and will continue to do so. Last year we were able to donate our profits to a 2-year-old boy who had brain cancer. We were able to help pay for a round of his chemo. The best part was that his family had no idea we were doing this, and seeing the look on their faces the night of the spaghetti dinner was priceless. I know this was beneficial for my club members to see how their efforts and hard work were worth everything and how they ultimately helped to make a difference. Each year they try to do more and reach out to the principals at all Pasco County schools. They first started reaching out to the high schools, and this year they have branched out to all feeder schools throughout the county. It is amazing to see how each school puts together their own vision of what The Pink Out Movement means to them,” expressed Craig.
Carol Gordy, 48 year-old from Lutz, Florida was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 40. It was exactly 12 days after her 40 year-old birthday. To Gordy The Pink Out Movement represents a way to communicate to our students and community members the importance of early detection. By students and community members being present at this event shows they know how important it is to get screened.” For Gordy, “this is a celebration of life since she fought breast cancer twice from 2005 – 2011. She had to endure eight rounds of chemo, eight surgeries, and five weeks of radiation.”
Gordy says “The battle was easy. She had two little girls ages two and four years-old when she was diagnosed in 2005. Her goal is to see them graduate high school and go off to college. “In any battle it is your positive attitude and mindset that enables one to overcome any obstacle. I look forward to spending many more years with my daughters and see them grow up into fine young ladies” expressed Gordy.
It is evident that one needs to do everything in their power to stay healthy. It is important to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle, do not smoke and go for preventative annual screenings. When seeking information about cancer, look at reputable websites such as the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society for quality information. If treatment is needed, visit a high-level cancer center such as the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. Getting diagnosed with cancer is not a death sentence if you get diagnosed early.
For some individuals, events such as these inspire one to appreciate life.