January 15, 2012

Breast Health Awareness Returns to Yale for Pink Zones Weekend

"Battle of the Badges" Competition, Women's Basketball vs. Columbia Highlight Weekend

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The Yale University Athletic Department will host its fifth-annual weekend designed to raise breast health awareness, dubbed "Yale Athletics Pink Zones," on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-12, at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

All proceeds from the entire schedule of events will benefit breast cancer research at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Last year, the Yale Athletic Department presented the Smilow Cancer Hospital with a check for $10,750. In total, the Yale Athletic Department has contributed more than $25,000 to the Smilow Cancer Hospital through the Pink Zone initiatives over the past four years.

The festivities will begin on Saturday, Feb. 11, in Zone 1 with the annual "Battle of the Badges" competition, a bench press fundraiser to beat breast cancer, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Varsity Weight Room on the fourth floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

The event will consist of teams of three, with each participant in the competition bench-pressing a percentage of his or her body weight. The team posting the most total repetitions will be declared the winner. The Public Safety division will be exclusively comprised of police, fire, security and other emergency medical personnel, who will compete for the right to call themselves the 2012 "Battle of the Badges" Champions. There will also be an Open Division, for the Yale community and friends. For more information or to register for the Battle of the Badges competition, please contact James Scott at (203) 627-8194 or via e-mail at james.t.scott323@gmail.com.

At 1 p.m. in Zone 2, the Yale gymnastics squad will host the Bulldog Invitational, featuring Springfield College, Rhode Island College and the University of Bridgeport, in the John J. Lee Amphitheater.

In Zone 3, the Yale women's basketball team will play host to Ivy League rival Columbia in the John J. Lee Amphitheater at 7 p.m. in support of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's "Play 4Kay" initiative.

The Yale Athletic Department is asking fans who take part in the weekend's events to wear pink in hopes of filling the seats in John J. Lee Amphitheater for the gymnastics meet and the women's basketball game in a sea of pink.

For 2012 and beyond, the WBCA's Pink Zone initiative has been rebranded as Play 4Kay. The mission of the initiative, which was brought to life in 2007, will remain intact: a nation of coaches raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Yale Athletics, partnering with the Smilow Cancer Hospital and the Yale Cancer Center, will be supporting this initiative.

"The Pink Zones weekend is always one of the highlights of our season," said Chris Gobrecht, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954, Head Coach of Women's Basketball at Yale. "The Yale community does a tremendous job of supporting our efforts on behalf of Smilow Cancer Hospital and breast cancer research. It is so gratifying for our players to be able to affect Yale and our basketball program in such a significant way during the Pink Zones events."

Yale's Pink Zones event schedule will culminate in Zone 4 with Ivy League squash action as the Yale squash teams will play host to rival Harvard on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 1 p.m.

A raffle and a silent auction will be offered throughout the weekend, with many chances to win great prizes to support this important cause.

Admission to all contests is free, but all fans and participants are encouraged to make a donation and participate in the raffle and auction. Pink Zones T-shirts, along with pink cupcakes, lemonade, and cotton candy will be for sale. All of the proceeds from the auction, raffle, donations and T-shirt sale will be donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital.

In addition to the Pink Zones events, Yale Athletics will also celebrate 100 Years of Girls Scouts with the Girls Scouts of Connecticut. Yale Athletics will host the Girls Scouts of Connecticut in the William K. Lanman, Jr. Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium, where entertainment and dancing at the "Big Event" will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Breast Cancer is the second-leading cause of death for all women and the leading overall cause of death among women between the ages of 20 and 59. These alarming statistics, among others, inspired 120 schools to participate in the initiative in its inaugural season.

The late Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women's basketball coach, served as the catalyst for Play 4Kay, formerly known as WBCA Pink Zone, after her third recurrence of breast cancer in 2006. That year, Coach Yow joined forces with the WBCA in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness in women's basketball and beyond.

To quote the legendary head coach:

"Despite all the games that I have coached and all the great opponents that I have battled on the court, breast cancer has by far been the toughest opponent that I have faced. My hope is that this funding will help to change the lives of many men and women who face this opponent daily. Cancer is something that touches everyone's life, and it is important to understand that we call can make a difference. Each of you can be a part of finding an answer. Join me today, and let's beat cancer once and for all!"

Since 2007, the WBCA Pink Zone has grown exponentially and has raised nearly $4 million and has unified over 6,000 participants in only four years.

Please join the Yale University Athletic Department in continuing to raise awareness and support breast cancer research.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity

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