The Strength of Pink

A look into the Women’s Volleyball Teams and their fundraising for breast cancer


Julia Melville ‘25

After the second set, the varsity volleyball team presents Dr. Tom Lomis of the Valley Breast Cancer and Women’s Health Center with a check for $8,500. The team will continue to raise money until they reach their fundraising goal of $20,000.

It is that time of the year, where we all wear pink. There is always a game day where sports teams decide to wear pink socks or accessories. Why do we wear pink in October? National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in October. Over 3.8 million women have had breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. So what is breast cancer?

    Breast cancer is found in breast tissue and the cancerous cells are malignant. Malignant cancer cells grow uncontrollably and spread to different parts of the body. A cancerous cell is one that is defected or that has been replicated incorrectly. 

With breast cancer, it is common to have a tumor both in breast tissue and lymph nodes, the liver, bones, and the lungs. This is secondary breast cancer. Secondary breast cancer begins in the breast tissue and spreads to another part of the body and forms tumors in that location. 

In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Every person naturally has breast tissue and it is not limited to growing on women’s breasts. Breast cancer is also found in men too. Although men are much less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, about 1 in 833 men during their lifetime, it still occurs. 

How can one help prevent breast cancer? Unfortunately there is no way to prevent breast cancer, however there are many ways to help reduce your risk. The CDC recommends maintaining a healthy lifestyle for those who have a family history of breast cancer or for those who are getting older. This includes remaining physically active and being cautious with alcohol intake. It is also recommended to breastfeed children, if it is possible. 

The next step is to be checked for breast cancer screenings.  Doctors often recommend that women should do a self check on their breast tissue once a month. According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no medical evidence that a self examination is effective in finding breast cancer. Yet, doctors believe it helps women become familiar with their breasts so they will know if something is different or off. 

The CDC recommends that women aged 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every two years. A mammogram is an x-ray that examines the breast tissue. Mammograms help doctors look for early signs of breast cancer and it helps them spot early stages. Genetically predisposed women are recommended to get a mammogram and MRI of their breasts starting at the age of 25. The chances of getting breast cancer as a teenager are 1 in a million but it is still recommended to do monthly self checks.

So why is October the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? In October of 1985, the first movement for breast cancer awareness began. Ever since then, breast cancer has been discussed more and more. 

However, we must be aware of pinkwashing. Pinkwashing is when companies market pink products or products with pink ribbons on them to raise awareness for breast cancer. Yet those companies don’t donate any money or fund any breast cancer programs, research, or clinics. These companies make profits by selling more products because people think it is for a good cause but they keep all of those profits for themselves. They are benefiting off of people who are suffering with the awful disease of breast cancer. Notre Dame is extremely good at avoiding pinkwashing. 

For the past 11 years, the Notre Dame Women’s Volleyball Teams have been fundraising for breast cancer. Head Coach Kami Ward has been running the program for five years. They sell a Knight in Pink shirts and all money used to buy the shirts gets added to the donation to the Valley Breast Care and Women’s Health Center. The teams also ask for donations online and accepted donations at the door for the game. Junior Varsity Coach Greg Simpson commented, “It seems to be t-shirts to get the kids [involved in donating]…people give us 20 bucks for the tickets and we ask if they would like to donate their change back.”

On October 5th, the Knights swept Louisville with all three teams winning their games. It was a successful Knight in Pink for the volleyball teams. 

The Freshman team succeeded in beating the Royals and made a comeback after losing to them earlier on in September. The girls have a great record of 18-5. They won their first by a close 25-19. The freshman team finished the game with 25-21 in the second set and started out the program with their first win of the night. 

The Junior Varsity team has only lost one game so far this season. They had a lead of 25-16 to win their first set. During the second set, they had a lead of 12 points winning the game with a 25-13 point set. 

The Varsity team was able to finish the game in the first three sets. They have had a battling season this year with a record of 6-10. They were able to add another win after beating the Louisville Royals. During the first set, DS Lauren Yoo ‘23 made some great plays defending the court. OH Mahlia Priestley ‘25 had many important hits and did a good job of spotting empty areas on the court. She was able to earn the Knights many points, giving them a stronger lead against Louisville. The varsity team was able to win the first set by a whopping 25-9. 

The second set was a harder battle to fight. Throughout the entire set, the Knights and Royals were battling back and forth to see who could get the win. MH Alana Weisberg ‘23 had many great blocks against the hard hits from the Royals, keeping the Knights afloat during the second set. OPP Olivia Van Deest ‘23 had some great hits and kept the Knights in the lead. The Knights won the second set by a close 25-19.

After the second set, captains Natalie Sullivan and Lauren Yoo presented the famous pink check. This year, the recipient of the donation on behalf of the Valley Breast Care and Women’s Health Center was Dr. Tom Lomis. The varsity team presented him with a check for $8,500. 

The Valley Breast Care and Women’s Health Center is located in Van Nuys at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital. Coach Ward explained, “We have now chosen them as our recipients. We donate to them so they can help women that are un or underinsured get normal breast screenings and or pay for the therapies they need if they have breast cancer.” 

The third set was a strong way to finish off the Knight in Pink. MH Adeline Hoisman ‘23 had great hits, helping the Knights gain a lead against Louisville. S Natalie Sullivan ‘23 made some amazing sets to lead our nights to a victory. The Knights won the game after winning their third set 25-10. 

This year, the women’s volleyball teams have so far raised $8,500. The goal this year is $20,000. The team is still accepting donations and there is a long way to go. The varsity volleyball Breast 

Scan here to donate!