An estimated 155,000 individuals are living with stage IV breast cancer in the U.S. Each day, metastatic breast cancer takes the lives of 110 people. These statistics strike the hearts of many, including those of the girls and staff at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart.
This connection to the breast cancer community for the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Florida might be evident on the surface, especially in the torrent of pink-clad students at the annual Dig Pink Pep Rally, but their link to the cause is more profound.
Setting the Stage
There is something incredibly special about seeing hundreds of young girls striving to change their future – just like the girls at Carrollton.
A simple fact: according to breastcancer.org, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. In a school of 775 girls, roughly 97 of the girls will eventually be diagnosed with breast cancer.
But these girls are taking hold of their future and hosting Dig Pink events to help further research into stage IV breast cancer through The Side-Out Foundation.
The Start of Dig Pink at Carrollton
Matt Althage, the athletic director, originally introduced the school to Dig Pink when his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Matt’s hoped to join forces with an organization dedicated to helping others with breast cancer. He came across Side-Out and the rest is history!
Carrollton’s first Dig Pink event took place in 2008.
Ransom Everglades, the neighboring school, hosted the first Dig Pink event in their gym because at the time Carrollton did not have a gym. Dig Pink was a success! The community pulled through for these girls and together they raised $8,500 that first year. The next year, 2009, Matt’s mother passed away, but the Dig Pink spirit remained at Carrollton.
Over the next few years, Carrollton and Ransom took the Dig Pink event further – and included their swim teams in the initiative! With the date of Dig Pink landing frequently on the same day as the swimming & diving teams’ meet at Ransom Everglade’s pool, it was only natural to include a pinked out meet to the Dig Pink festivities.
Dig Pink in 2018
Fast forward to this year, Carrollton’s Dig Pink event is made up of three key events: the Dig Pink Pep Rally, four back-to-back volleyball matches, and the swimming & diving meet.
The biggest fundraiser every year is the sale of their Dig Pink t-shirt. A new design for the shirt is made each summer and the shirts are sold to the students and the entire community.
Dig Pink is a day of fun and festivities for all five schools on the Carrollton campus. The day itself is an official dress down day! The students can wear that year’s Dig Pink t-shirt along with any other pink clothing they have in their closet!
Each school hosts a different fundraiser for the students to participate in before the official Dig Pink day. This year’s fundraisers included accessory sales, an ice cream sale in the junior high, and a $5 luncheon buffet for the high schoolers! The school day even ends with a school-wide Dig Pink Pep Rally.
“Every year, we have the high school dance team perform both at the pep rally for the school community. They then perform again before the varsity match for the spectators,” stated Claudia Garcia, the assistant athletic director.
Along with the dance team, the school chooses a student to sing the National Anthem before the varsity match. A total of four matches take place the night of Dig Pink, amidst a torrent of pink.
Students, families, and local community members fill the gym for the events! Everyone in the community has a Dig Pink t-shirt and with it can get in free to the events.
Every year, during and between the volleyball matches there is entertainment, vendors, and parents helping host fundraisers. This year the vendors included Walls Old Fashioned Ice Cream (a local ice cream shop), Kona Ice (Hawaiian-style shaved ice food truck), CrepeMaker, and Papa John’s Pizza.
The Difference it Makes
Dig Pink is an event that brings everyone within the Carrollton community together. On a campus with girls ranging from age 3 to 18, Dig Pink has something for everyone. Whether it is the fundraisers in the different schools or the hype at the pep rally or the sport of volleyball itself.
Through all their work to build the event, Carrollton never lost sight of the true purpose of Dig Pink. “The entire effort is for the survivors and those who have lost the fight,” explained Claudia.
Bringing together the community in this fight is one of the most important aspects of Carrollton’s Dig Pink events.
“The Carrollton community holds Dig Pink close to their hearts as most have been personally affected by breast cancer through either diagnosis of a loved one or have been diagnosed themselves, including our former Headmistress,” stated Claudia.
The Carrollton community dedicates their efforts to empower their girls in the fight against breast cancer. They see Dig Pink as the perfect means to do so. By fundraising for Side-Out’s stage IV breast cancer research, the girls learn the importance of going above and beyond to help others.
Their commitment to community and service has the girls at Carrollton motivated to make an impact and they aren’t stopping anytime soon. Each year, they challenge themselves to make their event bigger than the last and get more of the community involved.
Those at Carrollton represent the heart of Dig Pink. Together the students at Carrollton are making a difference! They are spreading the hope for their future and the future of those living with stage IV breast cancer.