2012 Pink Zone donates record $203,000 to breast cancer charities

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State was a record-breaking event in the Lady Lions’ fight against breast cancer as the Penn State women’s basketball team donated $203,000 to six breast cancer charities. The funds raised by the 2012 Pink Zone at Penn State were donated to charities on the local, state and national level and included Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital and Lewistown Hospital. In six Pink Zone annual events, the Lady Lions have now donated $565,317.73 to various breast cancer charities.

“Over the years, our Pink Zone game has grown to be the signature breast cancer event in the nation,” Lady Lion Basketball head coach Coquese Washington said. “We are thrilled to be able to impact breast cancer awareness, education, outreach and research on a local, regional and national basis. When I look at what we accomplished this year, all I can say is WOW! And rest assured we will continue to push forward and grow Pink Zone in even bigger ways in 2013.”

“I am incredibly excited about the success and growth of Pink Zone this year,” Pink Zone at Penn State Executive Director Miriam Powell said. “To be able to distribute $203,000 to our beneficiaries is remarkable. Our Board of Directors is very particular about how that money is distributed in order to align our disbursements with our mission. We seek to support education, prevention, diagnosis, research and treatment in the field of breast cancer. Knowing that we fulfill that mission while keeping the majority of our funds local and regional makes us very proud. I'm truly grateful to all of our sponsors, donors, beneficiaries, volunteers and Lady Lion basketball fans for helping to make this the biggest year yet for Pink Zone.”

The Lady Lions’ 2012 Pink Zone game received an additional $89,000 from in-kind donors from many local and regional businesses, including Fullington Trailways, Susquehanna Trailways, Bailey Coach, Forever Broadcasting, WTAJ, Centre Daily Times, Barash Publications, Tammy Miller, Town and Gown, Indiana Printing, Ricoh/IKON Office Solutions, Inc.,93.5 3WZ, B94.5, Martin’s Potato Chips, The Sign Factory, Chip Mock, the Bryce Jordan Center and Best Event Rental.

The Lady Lions welcomed a record 505 breast cancer survivors and a Pink Zone record 13,849 fans to the Bryce Jordan Center as Penn State took on Minnesota on Feb. 26. The Lions topped the Golden Gophers, 74-51, in front of the fourth-largest crowd in BJC history as they honored breast cancer survivors and generated awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The win also clinched the outright Big Ten regular-season title for the Lady Lions.

After fulfilling the pledge for the “Penn State Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center” at Mount Nittany Medical Center’s new cancer center last year, Mount Nittany Medical Center will use this year’s funds to purchase a breast specimen imager. This allows surgeons to have mammography equipment onsite in the operating rooms for radiologists to review. This means tissue removed for biopsy will not need to be transported to another area of the hospital but can be evaluated in real time thus giving the findings in a timely manner and decreasing the amount of time the patient has to spend under anesthesia.

"We are both humbled and deeply grateful for the tireless efforts of the Lady Lions basketball team and the Pink Zone committee to raise funds to support diagnosis, treatment and advances in breast cancer and breast health. At Mount Nittany Medical Center, the Pink Zone funds will go to support the Lady Lions Resource Center in the Lance and Ellen Shaner Cancer Pavilion that is set to open this fall," said Steve Brown, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Mount Nittany Health. "We are incredibly excited about the possibilities that exist to help make people healthier with this continued partnership."

Through past Pink Zone at Penn State funds, the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute activated the Lady Lion Basketball Breast Cancer Research Endowment. The money from this year’s Pink Zone at Penn State will continue to grow the endowment level of the Lady Lion BasketballBreast Cancer Research Endowment. Additionally, Pink Zone at Penn State funds will be used to support physician Maria Baker's Cancer Genetics Program. Baker’s program provides individuals with information based on their family history and/or genetic testing results to help in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. Pink Zone at Penn State believes that the support of this program is essential as researchers estimate that 5 percent to 10 percent of breast cancer is inherited.

“We are proud to continue to be recipients of the Lady Lions’ Pink Zone Event. All of the funds go directly to breast cancer research being done here at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute,” said Thomas P. Loughran Jr., professor of medicine and director of Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.

The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition will continue to use funding from Pink Zone for a special pink wrap on the organization’s van that is used to travel the state and spread the message of breast cancer awareness and education.

“The PA Breast Cancer Coalition is thrilled to be one of the beneficiaries of Pink Zone atPenn State,” PBCC Executive Director Heather Hibshman said. “This incredibly uplifting event brings awareness and attention to the breast cancer cause not only in the State College community, but across the entire state. With the Pink Zone logo on our one-of-a-kind bright pink van, we travel more than 20,000 miles per year spreading the message of hope. Thanks to Pink Zone and the Lady Lions, we can spread that message wherever we go.”

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which is named for former N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. The Kay Yow Fund awards a $50,000 to $100,000 research grant to fund a cancer research project at a Cancer Center in the host city of that year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four in conjunction with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Convention. Last year’s grant recipient was Chunyan He, ScD from the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center at Indiana University.

“Penn State’s Pink Zone event is an integral part of the overall Play 4Kay initiative with the mission of uniting a nation of coaches raising breast cancer awareness for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond,” Sue Donohoe, Kay Yow Cancer Fund executive director, said. “The Penn State family – team, fans, administrators, etc. – do a remarkable job each and every year to make a difference in the fight against women’s cancers and as a result set the bar high for other Play 4Kay participants. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund greatly appreciates Penn State’s continued support.”

J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital will use funds raised through Pink Zone at Penn State to purchase a full field digital mammography system with stereotactic breast biopsy capabilities. Digital mammography equipment provides state of the art technology to help identify breast cancer in its earliest stages -- sometimes a year or two before it is large enough to be felt.

“We are honored to be included among the beneficiaries of Pink Zone for our second year,” said Maria Pettinger, chief radiologist and medical director for the Women’s Imaging Center at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital. “Pink Zone contributions have helped make our dream of digital mammography and stereotactic breast biopsy services a reality for the women in our small hospital in rural Huntingdon County. Thank you!”

Lewistown Hospital also will use Pink Zone funding in the area of breast cancer education. The money received from this year’s Pink Zone allowed Lewistown Hospital to sponsor a Spring Wellness Day that offered information on breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment options. The hospital also plans to facilitate mammography screenings for the medically underserved and individuals at risk for the disease. Additionally, Lewistown Hospital also will provide educational workshops for hospital staff to help them provide the best care to its breast cancer patients.

“The Lewistown HealthCare Foundation is pleased to have been chosen as a Pink Zone beneficiary this year,” said Kay Hamilton, president and CEO at Lewistown Hospital. “As a community hospital, being a part of important community initiatives like this one is very important to us. Furthermore, participating in the fight against cancer is part of our very mission. It was heartwarming for me to see our staff embrace this cause with enthusiasm, creativity and dedication. Their hard work helped raise a significant amount of money in support of the Pink Zone. Funding from the Pink Zone will help us accomplish our goal of every woman in our community being educated about breast cancer risk factors and the importance of early diagnosis. We identified that as our primary goal because we know that educating women about breast cancer does save lives. Saving lives is the best part of what we do.”

The Lady Lions express special thanks to the following primary sponsors for their strong support of the 2012 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State: the Edward H. and Jeanne D. Donlevy Arnold Foundation, Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Lewistown Hospital, Kish Bank, Philip and Judy Sieg, Tombros Foundation, Penn State Bookstore, Penn State Athletics and the Lady Lion Cager Club.

For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at online.

The 2013 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State date will be announced when the Big Ten schedule is revealed in August. For donation information, visit online.

Last Updated July 20, 2012