Volleyball opponents team up for ‘Pink Night’

Volleyball players from North Lincoln and Fred T. Foard high schools wore pink jerseys to show their support for breast cancer awareness during their Sept. 13 game. Courtesy of Cheryl Burgess

DENVER — Though they were opponents on the court, volleyball teams from two local high schools wore pink during their Sept. 13 match to raise awareness for a disease that affects one in eight women during their lifetimes. 

At this year’s “Pink Night” game, players from North Lincoln High and Fred T. Foard High in Newton sported pink jerseys to show their support for breast cancer awareness. 

The idea came about when Cheryl Burgess, a 16-year breast cancer survivor whose daughter, Kathryn, plays on the team, asked Foard volleyball coach Meredith Lombardi, one of her customers at Ferguson Enterprises, a residential plumbing and lighting showroom in Hickory, if she and her team wanted to participate in the event. 

“The girls loved it,” Burgess said. “I love that we’re passing down the passion and the awareness of what October stands for. Both teams came prepared in pink, and it was just an awesome night.” 

Parents at North Lincoln also organized a bake sale and collected donations from fans who attended the game, and raised nearly $700 for the Go Jen Go Foundation, a charity started in memory of Jen Pagani, a Charlotte woman who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2014. The donation was facilitated by WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham, who shared photos of both volleyball teams to her Facebook page

“Here’s what’s even more awesome than one team of teens wanting to help charity: It wasn’t just one team,” Grantham wrote. “Both teams posed together because cancer doesn’t know division.” 

“We were so appreciative of the kind words she had,” said Burgess. “The fact that young people understand that these fundraising efforts actually mean something and are accomplishing things is really great.” 

As a breast cancer survivor and longtime volunteer for the American Cancer Society, Burgess said it’s critical that women get regular mammograms, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant drop in the number of women who receive regular screenings. 

“That’s how it’s detected early and things have a much better outcome,” she explained. “We can’t let things like that fall to the wayside. You have to stay on top of your own health.”


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