People from all backgrounds wearing pink poured into Reynolds Coliseum to attend the fourth annual Hoops 4 Hope, an event that was started by the late Coach Kay Yow to raise awareness for breast cancer On Feb. 15. The atmosphere was not one filled with sadness of the passing of Kay Yow, but one of excitement and celebration: a celebration of a life that had touched many lives at N.C. State and beyond. Breast cancer survivors, students, former players, faculty and many more came out to help make the event one that will go down as one of the most memorable here at N.C. State.
There was a silent auction that greeted individuals who wanted to bid on items that ranged from a N.C. State book bag to tickets to pro basketball events; the winners of the auction were announced during halftime. The ladies of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority were giving away Hoops 4 Hope shirts to the public while supplies lasted and within an hour and a half, they had completely run out of shirts. The Kay Yow/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the first health initiative chosen by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the newest women’s initiative for The V Foundation, were selling pink N.C. State t-shirts for five dollars, accepting donations for the fund, and informing the public about events they sponsor to raise money and to get people to support the cause against breast cancer. Two of their well known events are the 4Kay Run and the 4Kay Golf Classic which is presented by Nike. The Jimmy V Foundation, an organization founded by ESPN and the late great N.C. State Men’s Basketball coach Jimmy Valvano (who passed away from cancer in 1993), had a table to educate people about the organization and sign up volunteers who wanted to help out. And in a surprising gesture, a tall three-sided poster board was provided by Nike for everyone to sign including current and former players of the late Kay Yow; needless to say, a plethora of people signed the board and even took pictures to help remember this day. Perhaps the most moving if not emotional part of the event occurred during halftime when breast cancer survivors had received recognition at center court. It was during this recognition I was able to talk to Gloria Johnson, an African-American woman who is a 14 year breast cancer survivor. She felt that Kay Yow gave hope and courage to women everywhere who are stricken with the disease and hopes that the event will provide more awareness to all people not just women.
Overall, Hoops 4 Hope had raised $91,232.72 this year, more than twice it had raised in the previous year. However, even though it is important that Hoops 4 Hope generated a lot of money, there is something else that is more important that is being raised: awareness. It cannot be stressed enough that awareness will be the key in finding a cure for a disease that strikes both white and black women alike (white women are just a little more likely to develop breast cancer but less likely to die from it). And until that day comes, Hoops 4 Hope will continue to raise awareness and keep the legacy of its founder alive for many years to come.