Cherokee spikers set to Dig Pink

By AUBRIE GEORGE

The Shawnee and Cherokee varsity girls volleyball teams are scheduled to face off this Thursday in a match that will raise money for breast cancer research and awareness.

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This is the second year in a row the two schools have come together for Dig Pink, an event that was started last year by then Shawnee senior Billie Hirsh.

Hirsh had a close family friend who had been suffering from breast cancer, which inspired her to want to help.

Hirsh found out about a nationwide campaign under the volleyball organization Side-Out, which encourages high school and college teams to raise money for breast cancer during the month of October.

“They have games throughout the country,” Shawnee’s head girls volleyball coach, Margaret Fanourgakis, said. “Collegiate-wide, high school-wide. They have them all over.”

Fanourgakis said Hirsh approached her with an idea to do their own Dig Pink game. She then reached out to the head coach of Cherokee’s girls’ volleyball team to see if they’d be interested in a matchup. Fanourgakis said the two teams have a friendly camaraderie that’s competitive and fun to watch.

With an OK from both coaches, the event moved forward.

“I always call Billie ‘the power behind the pink,’” Fanourgakis said. “She organized the whole thing with the help of her teammates.”

Hirsh has since graduated and, unfortunately, lost her family friend to breast cancer this summer. Out of respect, Fanourgakis said the team decided to hold the event again this year and begin a tradition. The girls are responsible for pulling off the event. Shawnee student Emma Faulkner has taken the lead as this year’s event chair, Fanourgakis said.

Both teams will wear pink jerseys and play using a pink volleyball. The teams have also been selling Dig Pink T-shirts to raise money.

“Hopefully all of the fans will have brought their Dig Pink shirts, so the bleachers will be full of pink,” Fanourgakis said.

There will also be a concession stand selling baked goods and the team will be selling pink Silly Bandz for a Cure for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds from all of the sales will go to the overall donation.

Thanks to the t–shirt pre-sale, the teams have already reached the $2,500 goal they set for this year’s event. Last year, the event yielded a $2,007 donation.

Fanourgakis called the event “a fun day for a good cause.”

“It’s a nice thing to show the girls, especially since they’re women and breast cancer is such a big issue for women,” Fanourgakis said. “The girls work very hard to promote it and support it and it makes for a really nice day, and the volleyball is fun to watch, too.”

This year’s event is scheduled for Oct. 21 and will begin at 4 p.m. in Shawnee High School’s main gym.

There is no cost for admission, but donations will be accepted. For more information, contact Fanourgakis via e-mail at mfanourgakis@lrhsd.org.

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