A Community Effort

by Emma Larson
Miller Place High School, Miller Place, NY
Fall 2012

My Dig Pink experience was amazing this year, not only for me but for so many others in my community who got involved, some for the first time. My high school volleyball team has participated in Dig Pink for the past five years. As a high school senior, and captain of my team, I decided to set a goal for myself to personally raise $1,000 for The Side-Out Foundation. One reason that I am passionate about breast cancer is because my grandmother died at age 36 from this disease. My dad never really knew his mother and no child should lose their parent at such a young age. I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for my grandmother and her children.

My coach’s goal for the combined JV and Varsity teams this year was to raise $5,000. I decided to use email and Facebook as my main tools to raise awareness of the event and to try to raise that $1,000. I wanted to get some really great raffles prizes, figuring that I could sell a lot of tickets. I was successful in getting a $200 Apple Store gift card and a gift card from a local golf club for greens fees for a foursome. There were two other big raffle prizes as well. I emailed many family members and family friends, my civic organization, my Girl Scout service unit and any others that I could think of to get the word out about Dig Pink, explaining that we were raising money for breast cancer research and awareness to benefit the Side-Out Foundation. I got a great response. We were able to put together over 40 raffle baskets with donations from people in the community, pre-sell many raffle tickets to those who would not be able to attend the event and to spread the word about Dig Pink and what it means for breast cancer research and awareness.

Getting people involved is always a challenge, but it never hurts to ask. I approached the service unit coordinator, Mrs. Pastore, to ask if I could try to get Girl Scouts from Kindergarten through 12th grade involved and she agreed. I was able to get nine Girl Scout troops to bring goodies for the food table, make posters announcing the event and contribute items for the raffle baskets. My own Girl Scout troop gathered at my house and we made eight banners that hung on the gym walls.

We had our biggest turnout ever for Miller Place High School’s Dig Pink. The high school Service Club and the National Honor Society lent a hand, as well as our principal and athletic director. The gym was packed with people and everything was pink. The girls on the volleyball teams sold pink paper volleyballs which we hung up in the gym. The volleyballs had the names of victims and survivors of breast cancer and which we called the Walls of Remembrance and Hope. We also sold t-shirts and bracelets, and had breast cancer literature for everyone to take, explaining the importance of early detection.

I was able to take the knowledge I gained from my educational hours and, in turn, educate others in my community. I asked people to take a breast cancer quiz, with ten multiple choice questions. I got 59 people to participate, 50 women and 9 men. I based the questions on the information that I got from my interview and tour of the breast cancer center and from my interview with the director of medical imaging. The questions included “At what age should the typical woman have her first mammogram?”, “Can men get breast cancer?” and “Can a lump as small as a pea be ignored?” After the participants took the quiz, I gave them their score and the correct answers to all of the questions. The scores ranged from 20 to 90% correct, with the largest number of people earning a 60% on the quiz. Many people were surprised at how little they know and most thanked me for informing them.

Being a Side-Out Foundation Ambassador had made a major impact on me and others. I learned to fundraise, became knowledgeable about breast health and was able to pass that knowledge on to others. I raised $978 towards my $1,000 goal and as a team we beat our goal of $5,000 by raising $5,725.18! I cannot wait for my next Dig Pink at the college level!

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