Lions Athletics leads the charge against cancer

The Lion's Roar/Megan Simon
Every year through the month of October, various sports teams hold Pink Games ro support Breast Cancer Awareness. All teams contiribute differently, but all make their effort to raise awareness.

October is the month of Breast Cancer Awareness and the Lions and Lady Lions sports teams alike are standing behind multiple organizations to support and raise awareness of this deadly disease.

Each sport will participate differently; Volleyball typically supports the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

“We will hold Pink Weeks and design ribbons on sheets of paper,” said Coordinator of Student Marketing and Promotions, Lindsey Cramer. “We let people buy the ribbons for a dollar, then we link them together and string them up for a match.”

Not every team will raise money, however, but instead dedicate a game to raising awareness by wearing pink accents with their uniforms.

“Soccer chose not to do a fundraiser, which is typically what a lot of teams like to do,” said Cramer.

The recent Lions vs Lamar football game had also been a Pink Game. Even though the game was used to raise awareness instead of money, in the past football has worked with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and Raising Cane’s. Mary Bird Perkins has gone and will go to tailgates and offer information about Breast Cancer, how to perform mammograms and hand out pink things like cups or ribbons.

“Cane’s will have two nights during October where all proceeds go to Mary Bird Perkins and we present them with a large check,” said Cramer.

When teams choose to donate or use a platform, the job of Student Marketing and Promotions is to assist them. According to Cramer, teams will sometimes get really big ideas, and they then have to tame it down and cultivate it.

“Baseball wanted to do something really crazy last year and have pink fireworks,” said Cramer. “Instead, they just wore pink.”

During a Southland Conference game series against McNeese, the Lions baseball team partnered with Raising Cane’s and Theta Phi Alpha to “Knock Cancer out of the Park.” During the double header, the sorority accepted donations to help pay for the costs of cancer treatment for Diamond Girl Paige Hickman, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier in the year. During the game t-shirts were sold for her and Hickman threw the first pitch. They raised 5,000 dollars for her.

Recently, the university made a contribution to Zach’s Lidz for Kidz, an organization founded by young Zach Morgan and his mother.

“We had players sign caps and presented them to him,” said Cramer. “We encourage any type of involvement or awareness and always try to look for other things to support.”

When teams are prepping, they will order pink socks, headbands or wristbands. The women’s basketball team has an entire uniform in pink, and they also have boxing gloves.

“Teams will do their own thing,” said Cramer. “We’re just trying to expand ideas and make it better.”

One way they have expanded is through the Lion Up Loyalty app. Cramer established and created the app; through it, she can set up a perimeter that allows users to check in and get points. She can also set up something where, when students using the device step into a certain zone, it will send them a message. Cramer would like to put one in Cane’s for the two games they work with during October so that even if students did not know money was being raised, since they were in the area, it would send them a push notification.

“For example, if you’re at Cane’s it will say, ‘tell them you’re here for a pink game and you’ll get 10 percent off, with the proceeds going to Mary Bird Perkins,’” said Cramer.

So far, the app has over 500 users. Fans are in it as well, but the app is directly for students. Fans can play and check in, but not get prizes.

“There will be a really, really big prize for the student with the most points at the end of the season,” said Cramer. “We haven’t released it yet though, but it’s a really big deal.”

Next year, new additions of the app will be added and executed, like a poll for half time songs, points for trivia and even uploading photos, which could then be put on the video board during the game.

“Student Marketing and Promotions give out free shirts and food all the time,” said Cramer.

To keep track of everything happening in athletics, go to lionsports.net, click the Game Day tab and then go down to Promotions. It will list everything planned for the season. Or, go to the schedule of the team you’d like to follow, and there is a promotion tag that will bring you straight to that event.