With more than the game in mind, the field hockey team will take the field on Saturday at Higgins Stadium against Stevens Institute of Technology while fighting against the No. 1 cancer killer in the country: lung cancer.
The Bombers will sponsor their first ever lung cancer–awareness game. Junior back Sarah Pfeifle said at the beginning of the season, the team broke into groups separated by class year, and each set goals to accomplish. The junior field hockey players chose to give back to the community by raising money for a charity of their choice.
“We really wanted to do an event outside of field hockey this year because we wanted to do more charitable things and give back to the community,” she said. “A couple of years ago we did do a breast cancer awareness game, and we were really into that, but we wanted to take it a step further this year and do something outside of it.”
After researching possible organizations, the Blue and Gold chose the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. Addario, a lung cancer survivor and the founder of BJALCF, began the organization in 2006 to represent those affected by lung cancer. Now, her organization holds a nationwide series of walks known as the “Your Next Step is the Cure 5K” to raise money for those affected by lung cancer.
The team then discovered that one of the walks for this series will be held on Oct. 20 at Cornell University this year. Cornell will host “Your Next Step is the Cure 5K” for the third time in honor of Ingrid Nunez, a 21-year-old Cornell student who has been fighting stage 4 lung cancer since 2011.
After team discussion, the Bombers decided they would participate in both the awareness game and the 5K in hopes of raising money and supporting the community’s efforts to fight lung cancer. Senior midfielder and back Emily Lash said this experience will be a great way to bond as a team for a cause that touches everyone.
“We have had girls on the team in the past few years that have had parents fighting different types of cancer,” Lash said. “We find this to be a really strong bonding period because we are supporting our families and everyone [in the community].”
For their awareness game, the Bombers plan to represent lung cancer awareness colors through wearing white ribbons, using a white ball during the game, and even asking for permission to wear the white away uniforms instead of the typical blue home jerseys.
The South Hill squad also plans to line Higgins Stadium with signs as well as collect donations and inform their fans and the opposing Stevens about the risks of lung cancer.
Junior forward Amber Foose said the team is thrilled to be sharing information about lung cancer and hopes to impact people’s ideas that smokers are the only people at risk of the disease.
“We are all really excited because we love nothing more than giving back,” she said. “It’s a really great way to promote lung cancer and bring people out to our games so they can help with the cause.”
Pfeifle said the team is looking for all the support and donations it can collect, but the primary goal is to bring awareness to the college campus and the City of Ithaca in order to help the population understand what can be done to avoid a diagnosis.
“We found that lung cancer is a big killer of women specifically, as well as men, and lung cancer is the No. 1 [cancer] killer of people in the nation,” she said. “[Lung cancer] is a huge issue that gets overlooked, so we chose to do something different and get information out there for other people.”