Side-Out’s Perspective on all the Pink

Many people have become frustrated with stories of breast cancer awareness campaigns that seem to focus more on the color pink than on the disease itself. In a recent post on a volleyball forum, we responded to an inquiry addressing this issue. Please take a moment to read the messages below so you can both familiarize yourself with the problem and understand The Side-Out Foundation’s perspective.

Do most teams that participate in Dig Pink actually raise money for the cause? Or do they spend $500 on special uniforms, socks, ribbons, shirts, etc. just to wear pink and look pretty? Seems silly to spend all that money on breast cancer awareness rather than just donating it directly.

Each team should have to meet a fundraising goal in order to have the opportunity to wear pink. Or is that how it already works?

I’m all for breast cancer awareness, especially when it helps raise funds for research, but feel that some of the Dig Pink Events have become more about hoopla…

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I certainly understand your frustration. While it would be wonderful if every team raised money for breast cancer research and patient services, we do not require teams to raise funds in order to participate in Side-Out Foundation events. The spirit of Dig Pink is grounded in community involvement, and we do not want to exclude anyone. Awareness and education are very important, especially for the youths who participate in the events.

The majority of funds raised for The Side-Out Foundation are done through middle school, high school and college events during the fall season (over $1.2 million in 2011). It has been more challenging to influence club directors and their teams to become involved with respect to fundraising, but it has become a tradition to wear pink on the second day of national qualifiers to show support for the cause and unification of the sport.

We often receive messages from players, coaches and fans inquiring about Dig Pink details for the various tournaments, so I post on the volleyball forums to remind everyone about upcoming events. I agree with you. It can be very frustrating when the color pink receives more attention than the cause behind it, and it is certainly not our intention to brush aside the challenges and tragedies of breast cancer with pretty pastel jerseys.

As I wrote in a blog post a couple years ago, “Side-Out adopts the color because it is widely accepted as the unifying shade of breast cancer. We raise our funds through volleyball, and any sports fan knows the importance of color to band together players and fans. Donning similar garb is fun, it tells everyone of our cause and it reminds us of the importance of teamwork, both on and off the courts.”

I encourage you to read about some of the winners of last year’s Side-Out Ambassador Program (SOAP) awards (Laurie McNamara, Sarah Hemminger , Kayleigh Vigh, Cosy Burnett, and Lauren Rocco). There are many outstanding athletes who work very hard in their communities, and I think you’ll be quite impressed with their dedication and efforts.

If you have any questions, or perhaps suggestions about how to get club teams more involved in fundraising, please feel free to contact me directly ([email protected] or 1-877-344-7465, X200). Thank you again for voicing your concerns. I know a lot of people share your frustrations, and it is important to us that people understand The Side-Out Foundation and its Dig Pink events are about much more than pink.

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