Volley for a Cure more than a game
Volley for a Cure is an event put on by the Lee University volleyball team to help raise breast cancer awareness and to help impact kids whose mother or grandmother have been affected by breast cancer.
The Lady Flames team up with the MaryEllen Locher Foundation to support kids who have been affected by breast cancer at some point in their life.
This event is centered around the volleyball team playing Christian Brothers University on Nov. 7, but this event is much more than just a game to players, students and the community.
'It's bigger than people think,' Head Volleyball Coach Andrea Hudson said. 'For my team it's been something that takes them away from the game a little bit and makes them focus on helping other people.
This event unifies the city of Cleveland to the student and the athletes of Lee University. Sophomore player Blaire Beamer feels that this is a cause that people can become passionate about.
'I think it unifies the city of Cleveland and Lee University together because it raises awareness and it's a cause for something that everybody is passionate about,' Beamer said.
The first year Hudson and the volleyball team did this, in 2007, one player on the team had a mom who had been impacted by breast cancer. Since then, Hudson has found that it is not uncommon to have a player on the team whose mother or grandmother has been impacted by breast cancer.
The most recent student-athlete to be affected by breast cancer was Libby Peigen. Peigen was a player for the Lady Flames from 2009 to 2013. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer when she 10 years old. Peigen and her brother both received scholarships from the MaryEllen Locher Foundation and Peigen received a scholarship from Volley for a Cure her junior year.
'The whole foundation has affected our family so much because it's that much less that we have to pay and this foundation is incredible because of all that they do,' Peigen said. 'It's just an incredible organization. I've been really blessed to be apart of it.'
Peigen is not the only student that this event affects. Every year, Volley for a Cure gives away a scholarship to a student who has been affected by breast cancer. The student that the scholarship will be given to is confidential until the night of the game and it is a surprise to the winner.
'The night of the game we give a student a scholarship from this money [raised], and it's always the most moving part of the whole night because we surprise the family,' Hudson said.
The fundraising for this event started out with just selling t-shirts. It has evolved to have many different fundraising events. The t-shirt sale is the biggest fundraiser, as the volleyball team has sold over 8,000 t-shirts to students and throughout the community, but it is not the only fundraiser.
The volleyball does something called the 'Flamingo Flocking.' A group of ladies from Doctors Express is paid to put flamingos in someone's yard overnight. If the person who has flamingos in their front yard wants to put them somewhere else, they pay to have them moved to someone else's house the next night. This has been going on for over four weeks and the volleyball team has raised over $1,000 'flocking' yards.
There is also a silent auction the night of Volley for a Cure and the Greek Club Zeta Chi Lambda hosts a 'pink party' in the gym.
The first year of the event the volleyball team raised $12,000. In 2013, just six years later, the volleyball wrote the MaryEllen Locher Foundation a check for $27,000. Hudson said that for one volleyball game, she is extremely pleased if they raise at least $20,000.
This year, Volley for a Cure is the second to last game of the year, and it's senior night. While the event is exciting and fun to be apart of, for Senior Lauren Williams, it won't be all smiles.
'[Senior night] is going to be really emotional,' Williams said 'Especially being a senior it's going to be really depressing. But it's going to be fun I'm glad we're doing it on pink night because it'll be a fun atmosphere. But it will be weird.'
This is volleyball's biggest game of the year. With fans filling up Walker Arena in all pink, it gets the players pumped up to play the best that they can play.
'It's everybody favorite game of the year because the most people show up and it's really live and the energy is really high and you just feel really important,' Beamer said.
Volley for a Cure is an event that fans get excited about and players want to please the fans that support them. The Lady Flames usually have one of their best games of the year on the night of Volley for a Cure.
'The fact that we're playing for the cause of breast cancer is cool,' Williams said. But also our gym is packed out'it definitely gets us excited. It's usually our best game of the year because everyone is just excited to play.'